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Fighters To Watch At 2018 IBJJF No Gi Worlds: Lightweight
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.
Marcio Andre is a former world champion at this event, and has medaled at every major tournament on the IBJJF circuit. After a bronze medal in the gi this year at worlds (after taking eventual champ Jamil Hill-Taylor to a razor-close decision), and a European championship, the Nova Uniao rep could be the class of the field. He beat Grippo in the European finals, and has victories over Paulo Miyao, Renato Canuto, Rubens Charles, and Davi Ramos to his credit.
Gianni is coming into this tournament with a lot of momentum, after putting together a lot of tough wins to capture first place at the Kasai 4 tournament. He beat Tanquinho Mendes, Paulo Miyao, Kim Terra, and Ethan Crelinsten, and that was all in the same night! Gianni has always had a great guard, but a recent focus on top game and wrestling has been paying big results.
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After a recent strong showing at the ADCC East Coast trials, Akbari is one of the favorites in this tournament for the podium. Strong wrestling, a heavy top game, and an active guard let him punch his ticket to next year's ADCC, and Akbari has never had more momentum and fire than he has now. Can he keep it going?
Even if you don't think he'll win the bracket (and he has a ton of skill to do just that), every Vance fight is worth watching for action alone. Every fight seems to bring another highlight for the 10th Planet fighter. Can he get to his wicked rubber guard? If so, he's got a big advantage over everyone.
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Another 10th Planet standout, Barch actually breaks their traditional mold by adding in a strong wrestling pedigree. Even though he has usually been found in EBI-style submission only matches, Barch has had a very active and successful year. With the 10th Planet team looking to break through and put athletes on the podium, can Barch's wrestling make him their first world champion?
Johnny Tama is coming into this tournament with history in mind, looking to become the first adult black belt champion from Ecuador. He hasn't captured a world title yet for himself, but his resume of wins includes Michael Liera, Joao Miyao, Dante Leon, and Dustin Akbari, so he's been winning at this level consistently.
One of the top Japanese BJJ talents of his generation, this Marco Barbosa black belt is ending his most busy year yet at black belt with a strong showing. Iwasaki usually wants to get on top and start pressuring through the guard, and he's ridden this strategy to a lot of success. In just 2018, he's beaten Gilbert Burns, Renato Canuto, and Edwin Najmi!
A 2-time runner up at No-Gi Worlds, Freitas wants to make a run deep into the bracket and put himself over the hump to first place. In 2014, he won the No-Gi Pan American Championships, and has also won American Nationals and medaled in the gi at Pan Ams.