[by Danny OD]
The 2017 IBJJF World Championships took place at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California from June 1st through June 4th. The competition gets stiffer each and every year, and 2017 was no exception. The GD Jiu Jitsu/Nova Uniao competitors came in prepared, however. After a 10-day training camp led by the legendary Rodrigo Feijao and attended by competitors from Brazil, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Argentina, everyone was itching to get to the Pyramid.
The GD Jiu Jitsu representatives at the Worlds had earned a minimum of 30 IBJJF ranking points prior to the competition, which came from podium finishes in IBJJF regional events throughout the year. The Worlds is a different ballgame, however, as nearly all the best competitors dream of reaching the top of the podium. Despite the team’s best efforts, none of the colored belt GD Jiu Jitsu representatives made it to the podium of this year’s Worlds. Although the team lacked an elusive podium finish, a few of the competitors were able to advance in their brackets.
Blanca Macedo, who was just recently promoted to blue belt after winning the Pan Ams as a white belt, had three matches. In her first match, she submitted her opponent with a loop choke. She then beat her second opponent 4-0 before finally succumbing to her third opponent by a score of 6-0. The 2017-2018 competition season will be very exciting for Blanca as she has already had positive results with less than a few months experience as a blue belt.
Tyson Antillon competed on Friday June 2nd in the purple belt lightweight division. In his first match, Tyson was able to armbar his opponent after baiting him with an overhead sweep. He fought hard in his next match but ended up losing on points. Tyson was coming off an excellent performance at the Pan Ams, winning his first 4 matches before dropping a match in the quarterfinals. Tyson was promoted to brown belt after the tournament and will bring his exciting and technical style to his new division.
2017 Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion Thomas Keenan competed in the brown belt middleweight division. He won his first 2 matches by submission, utilizing his dangerous triangle choke in his second match. In Thomas’ third match, he went head to head with Rolando Samson of Atos. Despite losing a very strategic back and forth match, Thomas once again proved that his jiu jitsu is elite. He will have no shortage of opportunities to keep showing off his skills as he was recently promoted to black belt.
Black belt prodigy Marcio Andre made his return to the featherweight division, having competed at lightweight for most of the year. In his first match Marcio faced Alliance’s Jason Gagnon. Marcio set the pace early and scored 21 points before securing a cross collar choke to end the match. This win resulted in a quarter final match with Brazilian Top Team representative Leonardo Saggioro. The match ended tied on points and advantages, with the referee’s decision going to Leonardo. This was only Marcio’s second full year competing at black black, and at just 22 years of age his competition career is just getting started. The 2017-2018 season has already begun and GD Jiu Jitsu competitors are more motivated than ever to compete, evolve and bring their best selves to the 2018 IBJJF World Championships.