See you come the 2012 Pan

Rodolfo Vieira / Photo: Dan Rod

The 2011 Pan was a complete success.

More than 2,600 athletes signed up kept the ten competition areas set up in the Bren Events Center in Irvine busy over the four-day competition.

In the end, Rodolfo Vieira was the célèbre du jour, getting the tapout in four of his five matches on his path to victory in the absolute and taking the heavyweight division to boot.

In doing so, he overcame Bernardo Faria on two occasions.

Another total success was the GRACIEMAG at the Pan Blog.

Ever since the first of the 43 posts (including this one), the result from web users was excellent, with an average of 1,000 hits per day.

Here, we opened up space for all the categories and belts, from white to black, juvenile to senior 3.

When time came, accesses went through the roof.

On Sunday, the Blog hit 6,000 unique hits.

The Blog will now go into hibernation until the 2012 Pan, when we return full blast for more complete coverage of the most popular event on the gentle art calendar.

You won’t however, have to wait another year for another GRACIEMAG Blog with complete coverage of a major IBJJF event.

Coming up in May: the GRACIEMAG at the Worlds Blog!

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Alliance wins adult competition

Check out the team results for the 2011 Pan.

Alliance won the adult competition, with Lloyd Irvin rounding out the podium in second and Atos JJ in third.

Check out the score in the other categories:


1- Alliance – 72 pts

2- Lloyd Irvin M.A. – 45 pts

3- Atos JJ – 42 pts

Master and Senior:

1- Gracie Barra – 156 pts

2- Gracie Humaitá – 114 pts

3- BJJ Revolution Team – 72 pts


1- Alliance – 46 pts

2- Gracie Humaitá – 27 pts

3- Lloyd Irvin M.A. – 25 pts


1- BJJ Revolution Team – 41 pts

2- Nova União – 40 pts

3- Gracie Humaitá – 23 pts


1- Pitbull BJJ – 22 pts

2- Godoi JJ – 18 pts

3- Carlson Gracie Team – 16 pts

See you come the Pan 2012!

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Bia Mesquita gets black belt at Pan podium

Letícia and Bia with new belt

Letícia Ribeiro’s prized pupil left the 2011 Pan with two medals hanging from her neck and a new color around her waist.

On Saturday Bia had three matches in the absolute. First she beat Naoko Watanabe, then she caught Michelle Nicolini by the foot.

Now with her bronze medal guaranteed, she had a hard-fought bout with Luanna Alzuguir, but ended up losing by 4 to 0.

On Sunday, she closed out the lightweight division with her teammate Ana Carolina Lebre and took the gold medal.

Her performance was enough for Letícia to decide to reward Bia her black belt.

She had the following to say about her emotion-filled weekend: “Third place in the absolute, first in my weight division and I got my black belt to boot. I’m overjoyed!”

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The champions speak

The 2011 Pan is now a thing of the past.

The near-perfect performance from Rodolfo Vieira, winning the absolute and heavyweight groups in two riveting finals against the always-intense Bernardo Faria, will certainly remain in memory.

Caio Terra also shone brightly, securing gold at light featherweight after overcoming injury and multiple-time champion Bruno Malfacine.

And there were the Atos JJ forces that won at feather, middle and medium heavyweight.

The troops from small town São Paulo state fled the distractions from home to focus on the task at hand by training at medium heavyweight champ André Galvão’s gym in San Diego. And it paid off.

Not to mention Antônio Braga Neto, who fought back from an injured wrist suffered in his absolute bid against Ricardo “Demente” Abreu and won the ultraheavyweight division.

No way can you leave out dynamic duo Langhi and Lepri, again the owners of the lightweight division; and Marcus Vinícius “Bochecha”, who made his debut as a black belt in an IBJJF event winning a gold medal that he dedicated to his teacher Rodrigo Cavaca, who sat out the Pan due to injury.

Already with gold dangling from their necks, the champions spoke with the Blog (in Portuguese).

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Rodolfo signs his name on 2011 Pan

Absolute and heavyweight champion Rodolfo Vieira in photo by Dan Rod

The Pan-American champions of 2011 have just been defined in Irvine, California. The big name of the tournament was Rodolfo Vieira, who won the heavyweight and open weight classes by beating Bernardo Faria, the winner of the very same divisions at last year’s Pan.

Rodolfo Vieira defeats Bernardo Faria 3-1 on advantage points after 0-0 draw.

Felipe Costa and Rafael de Freitas drew 4 to 4, with Rafael taking the gold by decision.

Light featherweight
Caio Terra (Gracie Fighter) defeated Bruno Malfacine by 2 points to 0. Caio sunk a sweep, and Bruno went for his foot to avoid falling. Caio responded to the attack in kind and Bruno had to roll to escape. The two tumbled out of the area and Caio secured two points.

Rafael Mendes and Bruno Frazatto closed out for Atos, with Guilherme Mendes and Eduardo Ramos taking third. The gold went to Frazatto.

Michael Langhi and Lucas Lepri closed out for Alliance with it being Lepri’s turn to take gold in the rotation.

Claudio Calasans pulled guard and submitted Lucas Leite with a wristlock after just 53 seconds.

Medium heavyweight
André Galvão defeated Eduardo Santoro by 2 to 0, in a close match. André scored with a sweep; Eduardo tried for an omoplata towards the end, but it was too late.

Rodolfo Vieira defeated Bernardo Faria by a score of 8 to 0, with a takedown and two guard passes.

Marcus “Bochecha” Vinícius (CheckMat) submitted Bruno Bastos (Nova União) with a choke from the mount.

Antônio Braga Neto defeats Antônio Peinado with a sweep by 2 to 0.
Female division

Light featherweight
Gezary Matuda (ATT) submitted Angélica Vieira (Atos) with an armbar from the triangle. Prior to that, the ATT brown belt was winning 6 to 2.

Michelle Nicolini (CheckMat) submitted Fabiana Borges (Gracie Barra) with an armbar from the triangle while losing by 4 to 2.

Beatriz Mesquita took first after closing out with Ana Carolina Lebre (Gracie Humaitá).

Luanna Alzuguir (Alliance) defeated Hannette Staack (Brazil 021) by 1 to 0 in advantage points.

Medium heavyweight
Luiza Monteiro (CheckMat) defeated Carolyn Sthephens by W.O.

Gabrielle Garcia (Aliance) defeated Tammy Griecco (Gracie Barra) on advantages (4) after a 2-2 draw.

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Female brown and black belt finals

The female finalists have risen to the top.

Light featherweight
Gezary Matuda vs. Angélica Vieira

Michelle Nicolini vs. Fabiana Borges

Beatriz Mesquita vs. Ana Carolina Lebre

Luanna Alzuguir vs. Hannette Staack
The big division in the women’s category was defined by Hannette’s choke over Hillary Williams and Luanna’s footlock on Vanessa Oliveira.

Medium heavyweight
Carolyn Sthephens vs. Luiza Monteiro

Gabrielle Garcia vs. Tammy Griecco
The finals start at 3:30 pm Californ time.

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Rest of black belt finals defined

The medium heavyweight to ultraheavyweight black belt divisions have been defined.

Medium heavyweight
André Galvão vs. Eduardo Santoro
Galvão submitted two opponents but had a tough match against Clark Gracie during his journey, in which he won by one advantage of an omoplata (no points scored). “Português” beat 2010’s champion Otávio Souza by an advantage to make it to the final.

Rodolfo Vieira vs. Bernardo Faria
Rodolf clearly saved his energy in his three matches, but managed to get through without any major scares. In the semi he caught Daniel Herzog by the neck. Bernardo Faria got Roberto “Tussa” Alencar by the arm in the other semifinal.

Marcus “Bochecha” Vinícius vs. Bruno Bastos
Bruno score 5 to 0 on Filippi Soto in his only match. At the other end, Bochecha beat Alberto Silva.

Antônio Braga Neto vs. Antônio Peinado
Braga made it past Big Mac and Peinado took down Vella to win by 2 to 0.

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First black belt finals defined

The first five black belt finals have been defined.

Felipe Costa vs. Rafael de Freitas
Felipe overcame Brandon Mullins on advantage points and Rafael made it past Joseph Capizzi.

Light featherweight
Caio Terra vs. Bruno Malfacine
Caio Terra overcame injury to make it to yet another final. Malfa had a stellar display with a flying armbar on Megaton, perhaps the most beautiful finish in the championship so far.

Rafael Mendes vs. Bruno Frazatto
The Mendes’, Bruno and Ed Ramos repeat their feat from the European Open and close out the weight group in the semis.

Michael Langhi vs. Lucas Lepri
For the third year in a row the pair from Alliance make it to a final This year the title goes to Lepri.

Claudio Calasans vs. Lucas Leite
Lucas Leite defeated Durinho on advantage points and prevented another weight class from being closed out. Calasans made it past Clark Gracie in the semis.

The medium heavyweight to ultraheavyweight matches are about to begin.

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An absolute that goes well beyond a final – however epic it is

Yesterday’s absolute conjured up memories from the 2004 Worlds.

The magazine needed to be at the printers on Sunday, and I had to turn in the write-up on the the absolute on Saturday night, the final between Roger and Jacaré still yet to come.

But as much appeal as there was in the grand finale, the division’s story could already be told. After all, there were epic encounters like Roger vs. Tererê, Roger vs. Garcia and Jacaré vs. Xande, just to point out three of a plethora of spectacular moments. After all, we’re talking about the 2011 Pan, not the World Championship from seven years ago.

There are huge expectations surrounding the divisional decider soon forthcoming between Rômulo Barral’s favorite to win, Rodolfo Vieira, and the current champion, Bernardo Faria. But one mustn’t forget what happened on the mats yesterday in Irvine.

Rodolfo made it past Braga Neto in a semifinal match that started out very tactically, with Braga Neto trying in vain to push ahead on takedowns. Losing by 2 to 0, all the Gordo student could do was pull guard, and Rodolfo thus let out all the fuel he’d been saving until then, in a full-on assault that saw him get back mount and finish.

Braga was left in his wake, and if we only take into account the result, we’d skip past the phenomenal match he had against Ricardo Demente, exacting revenge for his loss at the 2009 Worlds and laying waste to one of the the greatest powers in present-day Jiu-Jitsu, who bravely defended his back till the final whistle, the clock interrupting the blitz on his neck that had gone on to extend into the protection area.

Bochecha lost to Bernardo in another semifinal in another match exhausting even to spectators, so lively it was. He started out taking the lead with two points, but Bernardo’s omoplata tied up the score, leaving to the sweep exchange (two to the winner, one to the loser) the task of filling in the scoreboard with 6 points to 4, a few advantages left over for Bochecha from near passes and back mounts.

Again it would be injust to look only at the upper part of the bracket. After all, the quarterfinal match between Bochecha and Gabriel Vella also went all the way. The Cavaca student with the slick guard started out launching a surprise attack by going for takedown, shooting in on the legs of guard-passer Vella, who landed setting himself up in the half-guard, to soon thereafter sweep and slap on a single-leg. Gabriel put on the pressure and pushed the pace until nearly the end, when in a comeback worthy of a champion, Bochecha freed himself from a tight guard pass and tacked on a sweep to land positioned sideways on his opponent. Vella didn’t give up and regained his composure, battling until time was up, as always, but with Bochecha taking the W.

A side-note here in praise of Vella: he’s been a black belt for over ten years, was champion of the 1998 Pan as a purple belt, when Bochecha was – if memory serves correct – 6 or 7 years of age. And he’s still at the top of the heap. He lost on a trifle and has what it takes to make it, as he showed in his prior match, with the sweet armbar caught on camera by John Lamonica:

Vella the "veteran" shows his armbar technique. Photo de John Lamonica.

Look, to wrap things up here is still selling this absolute short. Anyone who watched it on with the excellent commentating from Rafel Lovato (who sat out this Pan after competing in twelve in a row – that’s right, according to him, he’s been in all of them since 1999) will remember the unbelievable sweeps of Leo Nogueira, including one on Rodolfo, who retalliated with one of his own and a choke from back mount. And, of course, among other scenes, the achievement of star from Arizona Ryan Beauregard, who tallied up 6 to 0 on the ginormous Big Mac and looked good to make history, had the veteran from São Paulo not rallied back for the win. But Big was a no-show when it came time to face Bernardo in the quarterfinals.

And even if Rodolfo and Bernardo manage to do what Roger and Jacaré did in 2004, putting on a final that overshadows the preliminary matches worth just as much as the finals in 99% of the Jiu-Jitsu championships out there, the sweat of others will never be forgotten by anyone with a good memory – or by anyone who writes about it the night before they happen, faced with a deadline from the printers.

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Last day webcast is on!

It costs $9.95. Which is nothing as the promise of a day full of great matches is ahead.

Click here, register and enjoy!

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