Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu in action at the 2009 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Cyborg earned a silver medal in 2009 but did not register for this year’s event.
Heading in to this coming weekend’s 2010 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Irvine, California, we wanted to reflect a bit on who will be returning to defend their titles from last year. As the second most important event held in North America under the auspices of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the Pan (formerly referred to as the “Pan-Ams”) has traditionally been a “must compete” event for jiu-jitsu’s most talented athletes. For those of us with lower expectations of ourselves (or let’s face it, less talent!) who enjoy it as an opportunity to observe from the sidelines, the Pan is always an amazing event to watch and seems to foreshadow what will happen at the World Championship a few months later.
Below is a list of the various weight classes in the men’s black belt and women’s black/brown belt divisions. You will find the name of last year’s champion and whether they will be competing based on the final list of competitors that the IBJJF has provided now that registration for the event is closed.
Men’s Black Belt
- Roosterweight: Joao Carlos Kuraoka, Axis. There’s a Joao Paulo Kuraoka from Axis signed up, so I presume it’s the same person who will be competing. However this year he’s added a little weight and will be competing in the light feather weight division.
- Light Feather: Yoshihiko Matsamura, Paraestra. Not returning this year.
- Feather: Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles Maciel, Alliance. Cobrinha is signed up and took the gold medal in this division at the Pan tournament from 2007-2009.
- Light: Lucas Lepri, Alliance. Lepri will return and earned the silver medal here in 2008 and the gold in 2009.
- Middle: Lucas Leite, Check Mat. Leite will return and earned the bronze medal in 2008 and the gold in 2009.
- Medium Heavy: Otavio Sousa, Gracie Barra. Sousa will return and earned the silver medal here in 2008 and the gold in 2009.
- Heavy: Roberto “Tussa” Alencar Camargo, Gracie Barra. Tussa will return and earned the silver medal here in 2008 and the gold in 2009.
- Super Heavy: Antonio Braga Neto, Gordo Jiu-Jitsu. Not returning this year.
- Ultra Heavy: Marcio Corleta, Winner Jiu-Jitsu. Not returning this year.
- Absolute: Antonio Braga Neto, Gordo Jiu-Jitsu. Braga Neto will return.
Women’s Brown / Black
- Light Feather: Claudia Martinez Kvenbo, Pinnacle Jiu-Jitsu. Returning, although this year she is listed as affiliated with C Quence Jiu-Jitsu.
- Feather: Fabiana Borges, Gracie Barra. Borges is returning.
- Light: Carol Vidal, Gracie Humaita. Not returning. As Penny Thomas mentioned in our interview on Sunday, Vidal is expecting so will likely be out of action in 2010.
- Middle: Valerie Worthington, Carlson Gracie Team. Val is returning.
- Medium Heavy: Ana Laura Cordeiro, Gracie Barra. Not returning, likely due to injury.
- Heavy: Luciana “Luca” Dias, Gracie Humaita. Perhaps one of the most consistent of athletes at the Pans, Luca is returning. She earned a gold medal at every Pan since 2005!
- Absolute: Ana Laura Cordeiro, Gracie Barra. Not returning, likely due to injury.
So of the 17 divisions described above, seven of the champions from last year did not register for this year’s event. Of course, we have not examined whether the silver and bronze medalists from last year will be present, so as always there will be cutthroat competition the day of the Pan. However, what we do know is that we will definitely see at least seven new champions this year.
The most consistent competitors from the list above like Dias, Lepri, Souza, Tussa, and Cobrinha, certainly are looking to return home with another gold medal around their neck so their opponents can expect them to come out with all guns firing this weekend.
Remember that the 2010 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship will be streamed live online on Sunday for free courtesy of Budo Videos. Make sure to tune in!