IBJJF European Jiu-Jitsu Championships: Langhi and Rodrigues Profiles
On January 14-20th, in Lisbon, Portugal, the IBJJF will be hosting their European Jiu-Jitsu Championships. This will be the 16th IBJJF European Championships. This event is considered one of the most important events for the IBJJF year, and is considered one of the “Grand Slam” events. The other events which are part of the “Grand Slam” are the Pans, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds. Additionally, this is one of the biggest IBJJF tournaments- in 2018 there were over 4,000 registered competitors from over 70 countries.
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This tournament is the largest and most prestigious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in Europe and has been held since 2004 in January in Lisbon, Portugal. The IBJJF gives tournaments certain weights when calculating the number of points an athlete can win. Presently, the European Championships has a weighting of 4, alongside with the Pan-American Championships- only the World Jiu Jitsu Championships which are held in June in California are given more weight with a weighting of 7.
Since it began in 2004, there have been 13 European Jiu Jitsu Championships. Presently in the men’s division, Michael Langhi and Lucio Rodrigues hold the most wins- tying with six. In the women’s division, both Gabrielle Garcia and Luana Alzuguir have 4 wins each.
Michael Langhi is considered one of the best lightweight BJJ competitors of all time. He is currently one of the head coaches at the world famous Alliance Jiu Jitsu Academy in Sao Paulo.
Michael Langhi was born on April 2, 1985 in Sao Carlos, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began learning Capoeira at an early age in the town of Londrina. At the capoeira gym, Michael met Ruben “Cobrinha” Charles (one of the top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors of all time), and Cobrinha invited Langhi to participate in one of his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. At the time, Cobrinha was a purple belt, and he had just started his new grappling academy.
Michael quickly fell in love with BJJ and began training and competing in numerous tournaments. As a blue belt, he won the IBJJF World Championships, and repeated as a purple belt in 2006, and a brown belt in 2007. In 2008, Cobrinha promoted Michael to black belt. In 2009, he was named the best jiu jitsu competitor of the year, after he won the coveted IBJJF Grand Slam- winning the European Open, Brazilian National, Pan American, and World Championships.
As a black belt, his main wins are:
- IBJJF World Champion (2009/2010/2015/2016)
- IBJJF World No-Gi Champion (2015)
- IBJJF Pan American Champion (2009/2010/2011/2014)
- CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (2008/2009/2013/2016/2017)
- IBJJF European Champion (2009/2010/2011/2013/2014/2015/2018)
Lucio “Lagarto” Rodrigues
Lagarto is a black belt under Carlos Gracie Junior and is one of the main driving forces behind Gracie Barra in the United Kingdom, alongside with Roger Gracie and Braulio Estima. Rodrigues was given his nickname “Lagarto” which means Lizard in Portuguese by legendary Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor and teacher Marcio Feitosa, who joked that he resembled a lizard.
Lagarto was born on October 26, 1980 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a child, he began practicing martial arts with his father, learning karate and boxing. When he became a teenager, most of his friends had begun practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so he began taking lessons at 13 years old with instructor Carlos Augusto. After he received his blue belt from Augusto, he moved his training to the Gracie Barra academy in Barra da Tijuca, where he trained under Carlos Gracie Junior, who would award all of his belts, including promoting him to black belt in 2004.
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In addition to being know as an excellent heavyweight and super heavyweight competitor, Lagarto is also known for his fight with cancer. In October 2007, Lagarto discovered that he was suffering from cancer in his lymphatic system- known as Hodgkin’s disease. Because he was an active competitor, he took to the chemotherapy treatments very well, and even returned to the academy to train after his first month of treatement.
After his successful battle with cancer, Lagarto was invited to stay and coach at Gracie Barra in London after he gave a seminar there. He eagerly accepted, and has been a driving force with the growth of the Gracie Barra team in the United Kingdom.
While he ties with the most European Open wins, the World Championships is one title that has eluded him. In 2011, he was one of the favorites to win the World Championships, as he had a great competitive year, winning the European Open, the World Pro Cup Trials (weight and absolute) and the World Pro Cup finals. However, he was denied a visa to enter the United States to participate in the World Championships.
His main Brazilian Jiu Jitsu achievements are as follows:
- European Champion (2015, 2011, 2005, 2004 weight & absolute)
- World Pro Cup Champion (2011)
- Rio de Janeiro State Champion (2008)
- World Silver Medallist (2003 absolute – brown)
- 3x European Silver Medallist (2012, 2009, 2007)
- 5x World Bronze Medallist (2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 brown, 2002 purple)
- 2x European Bronze Medallist (2007 absolute, 2005 absolute)