With the 2015 IBJJF World Championship officially over it is indeed time to reflect on some of the matches and trends we saw.
This years Worlds provided a lot of controversy and a lot of interesting footage to go over and learn from.
We saw new champions remain dominant, old champions return to glory, the normal referee bias and horrible calls.
We say former teammates fight each other and we saw some dreams become reality and some dreams crushed.
While there is far more to talk about than I could ever hope to achieve in this short blog, I do want to cover some of the main things we can learn at a glimpse from this years world championship.
Once a champion always a champion
First and foremost, “once a champion, always a champion”. If you watched this event you surely were watching to see how “Xande” Ribeiro would perform. With his recent performance against the Phenom that is Keenan Cornelius, I think we already knew the answer. Xande Proved to not only be one of the greatest competitors of the past, but also in the present. Once a champion, always a champion.
Rafa is unstoppable
Next, Rafa is unstoppable. Winning his 5th world title is a true testament to just how great Rafa actually is. Although I should note we have yet to see much of Rafa in the open weight div. which I would be very interested in. Rafa’s final was against well, you guessed it, Cobrihna. As most of you are aware these two have faced off a number of times and Rafa has come out on top almost every time. Will Rafa be back next year and claim his 6th world title? Who can stop him ?
Injuries happen to everyone (even the top athletes who seem invincible)
Another great take away from the 2015 Worlds is that everybody gets injured eventually even the top athletes. This year we say quite a few injuries ,but two really solidified this idea. First , Markus Almeida injured his leg/knee before even making it to the semifinal match and thus was unable to compete further in his weight or the Open weight which he arguably would have both won. As if this wasn’t enough another heavy weight and rival of Markus Almeida also was injured. Alexander trans who has faced Almeida numerous times also injured his knee after being awarded a close out to move to the finals and was unable to compete which meant Faria was claimed the absolute champion. Sometimes when we are riddled with injuries or a freak accident we blame ourselves or our training partners, but in reality injuries will happen and all we can do is try to be as safe as possible.
Don’t leave it up to the Ref
Last but not least…the refs are not perfect. I’m not going to argue that the refs are corrupt or bias (although the probably are in some matches), but we must acknowledge that if we leave the match up to the refs it might not go our way and if we count on points and not the submission it may also not go our way. There are many examples I could use , but I am going to stick to two key matches. After losing to Keenan Cornelius in the open weight, Tim Sprigs once again faced Keenan in weight. This match is always interesting as they are former teammates. Anyhow, in short , Tim played a very defensive game and it seemed as if he was actually pulling his own arm out of the gi in order to get resets while in Keenans guard. This happened a lot during the match and was annoying as a spectator. While Keenan was constantly stripped of his grips in the re-sets one re-set was terrible. The ref actually stood the two up even though they were clearly being aggressive . This Reset cost the match for Keenan as he was taken down leaving the score 2-0. Also in the Rooster div. champion Bruno Malfacine faced Joao Miyao in the final and their match was intense ! With one minute left Joao was down one advantage and desperately needed to score. After looking at the clock he quickly inverted and went for a kneebar which was defended, but it did get him the advantage to tie, but then after time expired the ref actually deducted the advantage that was awarded and Bruno Reclaimed his crown. This is a prime example of why we can’t leave it up to the refs and rules, submission is key.
These are only a few things I picked up on watching the competitors at worlds 2015. While surley many other competitors did very well and while there may have been many other trends to watch I believe these three are most obvious to me. Rafa is unstoppable (in weight), Once a champion always a champion and never leave your match up to the refs.