World 2008 Random thoughts
The IBBJF rips in terms of organization, the venue (The Pyramid) is great and the schedule ran perfectly. The rest of the World is catching up to the Brazilians, suffice it to say that there were many non-Brazilians in the finals, 2 Americans (Rafael Lovato Jr and Bill Cooper), 3 Japanese (Dai Yoshioka, Yusuke Honna and Takako Abe), one French lady (Laurence Cousin) and one South African (Penny Thomas). They each got 2nd but none by much, with a little luck we could have had 4 World medalists from outside Brazil, it is bound to happen soon!
Kron Gracie did not live up to his own expectations, he ran into an inspired Sergio Moraes, who went up to take the entire event. Kron seem to be caught up by surprise with the early takedowns and went off his normal game pursuing the choke without his usal variations of attacks. For his part Moraes was a machine, methodically destroying everyone he faced. Bill Cooper was a surprise, not thta he isn’t that good but lets face it, the kid went off! He submitted every opponent he faced, including Otavio Souza and current Black belt European Absolute Champion Alan "Finfou" Nascimento. His submission and victory run was stopped by the champion Moraes.
Rubens "Cobrinha" has domintaed his division for a few years now. He has clearly been the King there however Bruno Frazatto is climbing that road and making a run at the king. Frazatto’s game is very similar to "Cobrinha" and he actually had a lead late in the match before Rubens caught him with a knee-lock.
Andre Galvao is on a level of his own (save for Roger and Xande). Galvao has really hit another gear and it shows with a win on the Pan (weight and Absolute) and the World win capped of with a submission win in the finals of Braulio "Carcara" Estima. "Carcara is one of the World’s best and Galvao’s victory served notice of the new level hes reached.
Xande had another stellar tournament, now he has 2 Absolute titles joining an elite few comprised of Amauri Bitteti, Rodrigo "Comprido", Marcio "Pe de Pano", Ronaldo "Jacare". It is important to note that in addition to his numerous weight titles, this year’s feat is especially impressive. as it marks the first tiem anyone has won the combined weight and absolute twice, no one had done that yet. Marcio "Pe de Pano" & Ronaldo "Jacare" won the weight and absolute combined once each.
I said in one of my previous columns that it remained to be seen if MMA training was going to affect Roger’s performance, although his game was still tops, after all he won his weight and the absolute, he appeared not as fired up. Perhaps overtraining (preparing for both events) and fighting slightly over 2 weeks after his MMA took away his edge. Even then he still had a great showing.
The ladies divisions are getting better and better, with the new weight classes making the fights more even. Great performances abounded, in my eyes Kyra Gracie, Ana Clara Cordeiro, Hanette Staack are the cream of the crop and it showed. Honorable mention has to go to Penny Thomas who somehow escaped a series of arm-lock attempts from Ana Clara and almost pulled an upset, that was a great final.
The only thing missing from the Worlds last year, in my view, were the Team chants that are common at the Tijuca Tennis Club in Rio, this year however everything changed with great rivalries between Gracie Barra, Alliance, Gracie Humaita and Brasa teams.
Alliance team has fully recovered from the split and the internal strife and conquered the Pan and the Worlds title this year clearly showing they are the best team in the World this year.
Too bad the worlds only happens once a year : ) See you all next year
Fabio Gurgel Talks About Alliance Win
The following is a clip from Fabio Gurgel’s email to his team
"The day has come! After 9 years we are world Champions again, repeating the dose after being Pan Am champions as well. We had the highest point total ever achieved with 117 points!
I’d like to first thank all the fighters that represented alliance on the mats. What can I say about Cobrinha’s campaign, 3 imes World Champion. and Serginho, who surprised everyone by submitting Kron Gracie and finished with a win over Bill Cooper in the finals. Cooper is a student of Franjinha’s Paragon in Santa Barbara . . . Lucas and Michel in the light weight, Gabriel Vella in his weight and absolute and Tarsys even though he was recovering from a shoulder injury medaled . . . I share this victory and this moment with all of you, who proudly wear our symbol, the eagle on the back of your Gis, without exception i thank you very, very much!"
Now go train Jiu-Jitsu,