Fighters To Watch At 2018 IBJJF No Gi Worlds: Super-Heavyweight
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.
The #1 IBJJF ranked fighter in the world is back to defend what's his. Last year, Barbosa won the weight and absolute gold at the no-gi Worlds and has had a great year since, adding another world championship in the gi. Still, he's way up in weight, fighting more than a weight class above his natural weight.
Kaynan Duarte is a freshman black belt and one of the most promising rising stars in BJJ. For his first world championship at black belt, he has no easy path, but he has been a huge problem for more experienced grapplers with a mix of athleticism and disciplined positional work. With a strong Atos team behind him, the sky is the limit for Kaynan.
Luiz is one of the most accomplished super heavyweights of this era. He is defending his title from 2 years ago here, where he submitted his way through his bracket for first place. Luiz is one of the more mobile, fluid, and technical heavyweights in the world and most of his fights are entertaining. If you get the chance to watch Panza grapple, go for it!
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After a razor-close loss to Felipe Pena in the gi world finals this year, Gaudio is definitely more prepared to come in and finish on top this time around. Gaudio has come on strong as one of the best heavyweights in the world and has spent a lot of time this year building his body and skill set, which has shown itself in his performances. Gaudio will factor heavily into who is the champion here.
James Puopolo adds depth and upset potential to a deep weight. He's an ADCC veteran with some great wins, including over 2018 World Champion Mahamad Aly, so he can knock off anyone at this event. James is another guard puller, which will give a lot of fighters at this event an unusual style to work against.
Eliot is one of the most experienced black belts in the bracket and is one of the best American BJJ fighters of his generation. With ADCC and World Championship experience to his credit, Eliot is finally aiming to top an IBJJF world podium. He's fought everyone, he's beaten some amazing fighters, and he can be the guy on any given day.
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