This Saturday, April 30, 2022, the biggest organization for professional Jiu Jitsu in Brazil “BJJ Stars” make their return with the first event of the new year in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Past events have been big – but this one sees the much anticipated return of the BJJ MMA legend, Demian Maia!
This will be the 8th edition of BJJ Stars and it will include an eight-man middleweight gi tournament and seven Super Fights under ADCC rules with some of the biggest names from Brazil invited to participate.
Middleweight Grand Prix
The Middleweight division is considered by many to be the most challenging weight class in every combat sport, and Jiu Jitsu isn’t any different. BJJ Stars put together a stacked eight-man Grand Prix, combining some well known gi competitors over the last year, including some young rising stars.
The two favorites to win the GP are seven time IBJJF Black Belt World Champion Leandro Lo and IBJJF Worlds and Pans Black Belt Champion Isaque Bahiense, both of whom participated in the final of the previous BJJ Stars Middleweight Grand Prix in 2020, where Lo won by an advantage.
Another tough contender and a veteran in the Jiu Jitsu scene is the Atos super star and IBJJF Worlds and Pans Black Belt Champion Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa who is always a tough challenge for anyone in every rule set.
On their way to the gold the three veterans have a big task in front of them with some of the most entertaining upcoming prospects in the sport.
Maybe the most exciting name in the GP is the submission machine Mica Galvao, who recently won everything after becoming the youngest Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu history.
Loved by all and called “the people’s champion” is another young prospect with very aggressive and entertaining style is Ecuador’s Roberto Jimenez.
In every tournament there are dark horses who have the skill sets to beat anyone who otherwise fly under the radar. This competition has three lesser known competitors to watch out for:
Black Belt rookie Pedro Machado is well known for his achievements in the color belts and was able to medal in the last IBJJF Pan American Championship for the first time as a Black Belt.
Alliance’s Mauricio Oliviera is one of the few three people to have a victory over the phenom Mica Galvao.
The last dark horse who can cause havoc and is hungry to make a statement is Leonardo Lara, who has faced off against some of the Middleweight elite over the past years.
Jiu Jitsu Legacy Prediction: Isaque Bahiense
BJJ Stars 8 Super Fights
Demian Maia vs Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira
One of the most important pieces of news in the Jiu Jitsu community in the past month was the return to grappling competition of UFC and Jiu Jitsu legend Demian Maia. Maia last participated in a grappling event 15 years ago in the 2007 ADCC World Championship, where he won his division.
Recently he ended his contract with the UFC where he holds 28 victories, with 14 of them coming by the way of submission, which puts him in easy contention for being one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners to step into the cage at the UFC.
Maia will be going up against a fellow Brazilian and another former UFC fighter Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. With a very wild and exciting style, Cowboy holds a 22-12 record in the UFC, with 5 wins coming by submission.
Prediction: Demian Maia (choke from the back)
Felipe Pena vs Henrique Ceconi
After a 30-month layoff from competition, former ADCC Absolute World Champion and current IBJJF Black Belt World Champion, Felipe Pena decided to make his return to No-Gi competition. Pena is the only man to beat the number one no-gi superstar, Gordon Ryan, and has been relatively inactive after his loss in ADCC 2019 Super Fight against the current ADCC SuperFight Champion, Andre Galvao.
Felipe faces off against a difficult opponent, Henrique Cardoso “Ceconi.” With a perfect style and build for the ADCC rule set, Ceconi recently won the second ADCC Brazilian Trials in the -99 kg division.
Prediction: Felipe Pena (choke from the back)
Gutemberg Pereira vs Fellipe Andrew
Maybe the most exciting super fight in the card will be the bout between Gutenberg Pereira and Fellipe Andrew. With both athletes having a very aggressive submission style from start to finish their match has the potential of being the fight of the night. Pereira recently won the second ADCC Brazilian Trials in the over 99 kg division by submitting all of his opponents, most of them with heel hooks. No stranger to the leg lock game, the always dangerous Fellipe Andrew hit 6 leg lock submissions in the tournaments that he competed in this year.
Prediction: Fellipe Andrew (leg lock)
Fabricio Andre vs Alexssandro Sodre
Another very exciting match between two young upcoming athletes will be the match between Fabricio Andre and Alexssandro Sodre which will be a rematch from the IBJJF World Championship semi-final, which Andre won by an advantage, but this time in the ADCC ruleset. With his very aggressive and exciting style, many believe that Andre has the advantage. Andre recently took the gold in the second ADCC Brazilian Trials, but Sodre is no stranger to the no-gi either and holds an IBJJF Black Belt No-Gi World title.
Prediction: Fabricio Andre (triangle)
Beatriz Mesquita vs Julia Boscher
In the women’s division, one particular match promises to be exciting: the Jiu Jitsu icon Beatriz Mesquita versus UAEJJF World Pro champion Julia Boscher. With her 2017 ADCC World title, Mesquita is considered the favorite but Boscher holds an IBJJF Black Belt No Gi World title, and she is more than ready to make a statement that she can compete with the best ladies in the no-gi scene.
Prediction: Beatriz Mesquita (armbar)