Fighters To Watch At 2018 IBJJF No Gi Worlds: Featherweight
With IBJJF No-Gi Worlds in one week, let's take a second and look at some of the most high profile competitors who will be trying to become a no-gi champion.
One of the most credentialed competitors at this weight is last year's silver medalist, Pablo Mantovani. With a powerful wrestling game with good top control, Mantovani is a runner-up at Pans in the gi and no-gi, so he's looking to put himself over the hump here for a gold. In 2017 he won the ADCC Brazilian Trials, adding to his strong resume.
In his first major IBJJF championship as a black belt, Kennedy Maciel looks to begin his own legacy as the son of one of the best ever in his weight class. Last year, he took bronze at brown belt, but since then he has won a gold in eleven different tournaments, including the IBJJF Worlds and Pans (at brown belt), and the ACBJJ and SJJIF Worlds. Maciel has been on a real hot streak with wins over Franson, Mantovani, and Chantre, all of whom are in this division.
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One of the favorites of the weekend will be Samir Chantre, a three-time world no-gi champion. He won it in 2016, 2014, and 2010, making him one of the most experienced guys in the field. He's also added in two golds at no-gi Pan Ams, and has been very active against the best in the weight. With wins over Isaac Doederlein, Gabriel Marangoni, Bruno Frazatto, and Gianni Grippo, he's proven himself against the elite many times over.
The 2018 brown belt world champion is heading into this division with a lot of eyes on him as he tries to set his place in the featherweight order. Last year, he won gold as a brown belt, and the year before as a purple, so victory is nothing new to Gabriel. He doesn't have much black belt experience yet, but he gave world champion Paulo Miyao a very competitive 8-6 match earlier this year.
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The owner of one of the best BJJ viral highlights is bringing a dynamic guard and leg lock style to one of the toughest brackets in the tournament. With a submission-oriented no-gi specific game, he'll be a problem for anyone he draws in this tournament.
An underrated medalist at featherweight, Gabriel Marangoni has proven himself to be a solid competitor and podium threat every time he enters a tournament. With a medal at the IBJJF No-Gi World Championships before (bronze in 2016) and a gold at the 2015 ADCC Brazilian Trials, Marangoni has plenty of no-gi experience to draw from. Marangoni has picked up victories recently over Samir Chantre, Kim Terra, and Osvaldo Moizinho.
While he's usually a loop choke assassin, Vieira will definitely be looking to score a few upsets and advance his way through the bracket. He won a no gi world championship at brown belt, and is riding a win at the No-Gi Brasileiro Championships.
The Ryan Hall disciple has put together a very active year, with almost 30 fights already in his debut year as a black belt. He has earned himself a lot of experience, wins over other tough grapplers like Cole Franson, Matheus Gonzaga, and Silvio Duran, and a bronze medal at no-gi Pans. Can he finish off with another strong performance here?
Another rising black belt prospect eager to prove himself at this level, Cole is the 2018 brown belt Pan American champion in the gi, and after being promoted, he has won three IBJJF regional opens.
Silvio Duran is a dangerous fighter in this division, with good wins and lots of accomplishments to his resume, but he has had an up and down 2018 so far, losing in the first or second round at the Worlds, Pan Ams, and No-Gi Pans. He's been successful elsewhere, with three IBJJF open wins and 15 wins in competition.