Looking back at the BJJ world in 2016, there are a few standout events BJJ fans should remember fondly.
Buchecha Set A Record In The IBJJF
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida broke the record for the most absolute titles in the IBJJF open weight division. This record was previously set by Roger Gracie, who had three world titles. “Buchecha” captured his fourth absolute at black belt and also won his weight class.
Can we say that “Buchecha” is the best BJJ competitor on the planet?
Rafael Mendes Won His Sixth Black Belt Mundials
Rafael “Rafa” Mendes of Team Atos won his sixth black belt Mundials title at featherweight, breaking his own record. He remains one of the all time best lighter weight BJJ athletes.
The Danaher Death Squad dominated submission-only events. The trio of Gordon Ryan, Eddie Cummings, and Garry Tonon took home prize money in multiple submission-only tournaments with their powerful leg lock attack system.
The BJJ world is watching their success and analyzing how to defeat the successful squad.
EBI Became The Premier Sub-Only Event
The Eddie Bravo Invitational emerged as perhaps the premier submission-only event of the professional BJJ world. EBI’s innovative rule set – e.g., the overtime rules to eliminate draws – has proven to be perhaps the most viewer-friendly way for professional grapplers to see who is best. EBI promises some additional rule changes – including open hand slaps – in a continual effort to find a a competitive rule set that best captures the spirit of jiu-jitsu.
Leandro Lo Had A Great Year
Leandro Lo had a great competitive year winning the World and Pan American Championships. He appeared at the top of the medals podium in every event he entered. Add the 2016 Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship and Copa Podio titles, and we must see Leandro Lo as one of the most consistent competitors in 2016.
Felipe Pena Made Some Serious Money
According to bjjheroes.com Felipe “Preguica” Pena, who trains with Edwin Najmi and Gabriel Arges at Romulo Barral’s Gracie Barra Northridge, banked the most money in his professional competitions in 2016.
Preguica’s titles include:
2016 Abu Dhabi World Pro Absolute Champion
2016 Abu Dhabi World Pro Runner-up
2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam RJ Champion
2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo Champion
Berkut 3 Superfight Winner
2016 Marianas Open Champion
BJJ Prevailed In MMA
The death of BJJ in MMA was announced prematurely, as the world witnessed Miesha Tate upset Holly Holm by RNC to take the women’s Bantamweight title. Nate Diaz also showed the world that BJJ was alive and well when he used the same move to submit superstar Conor McGregor at UFC 196 in an epic upset.
Also notable among the big rear naked choke wins in 2016 were Demian Maia submitting Condit at UFC On Fox 21 and Amanda Nunes taking the title from Miesha Tate at UFC 200.
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