OpenMatRadio is pleased to release this article written by JSho. JSho possesses an extensive amount of knowledge and expertise when it comes to jiu-jitsu. Click the “Read More” link to check out his predictions for the upcoming superfights at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo.
Nick Diaz x Braulio Estima (NoGi)
Diaz is a very experienced MMA fighter with a 26-8 record, including wins over BJ Penn, Evangelista Cyborg, Mach Sakurai and Frank Shamrock. He is a contender for the UFC Welterweight title but is currently fighting the Nevada State Athletic Commission first over a suspension.
Braulio is a 3 time BJJ Gi World Champion and 3 time ADCC champ, with gold at -88kg and Openweight in 2009, and 2011 Super Fight champion.
Diaz’s original opponent was slated to be MMA Fighter BJ Penn and whilst Braulio and his impeccable grappling credentials clearly add a lot of star power to this match, it may be too much to expect Diaz to be competitive.
Diaz is no stranger to BJJ, as he has competed widely in Gi and NoGi, even beating players such as Jorge “Macaco” and has never been submitted, but he has not competed for more than 2 years now. Braulio on the other hand is still pretty active, has beaten many of the world’s elite players in both forms of BJJ and one can’t help but think there is a grain of truth in a forum post suggesting only Nick and his brother Nate as a tag team, stand a chance of beating Estima.
Diaz will be donating his purse to a charity (St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital) and mobileblackbelt.tv, who will be doing a PPV stream of the fights, will also be making a contribution.
Caio Terra x Jeff Glover (Gi)
Caio is former Gi World Champion, 2 time Pan American Champion and 4 time NoGi World Champion, probably best known for his outspoken views on steroid usage in the sport.
Jeff is a perennial competitor on the US circuit, multiple time ADCC qualifier and former NoGi World Champion, known for his unorthodox and irreverent style.
Originally a NoGi bout, this will now be a Gi match (Terra not wanting any distractions from his preparation for the Mundials on the first weekend of June). Terra has agreed to no weight limit, given the two campaign in different weight divisions (Glover at Lightweight and Terra at Rooster or Light-Feather). This may make Terra’s job a little harder.
Neither of these two will want to lose to the other. 2011 saw a bitter war of words conducted through various social media outlets. Terra had said he won the NoGi Worlds title despite injuries, drawing a sharp retort from Glover, who told him to stop whining and he isn’t the only guy competing with injuries. Terra shot back that Glover was rarely competing and even more rarely medaling these days and should keep his thoughts to himself. He also referenced Glover’s self-revealed steroid usage in the past.
On paper, Terra is far more accomplished than his opponent and should take the win here. Glover may have a size advantage, but Terra has won some competitive absolute titles before and beaten much larger players of the caliber of Bruno Bastos. Glover’s best hope probably lies with imposing an unorthodox and unpredictable gameplan on Caio and looking to pick up a footlock.
Kyra Gracie x Alexis Davis (NoGi)
Kyra is 4 time BJJ Gi World Champion and 3 time ADCC NoGi World Champion and whilst a clear favourite for this match has been carrying an ankle injury that saw her lose quickly by submission against Michelle Nicolini in the recent World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Alexis is a Canadian mixed martial arts fighter with an 11-5 record, who holds wins over notable fighters such as Julie Kedzie and Amanda Nunes. Her most recent bout against Sarah Kaufman saw her lose a majority decision.
There is quite a gulf in pedigree and experience and normally there would be no reason to think Davis has a shot here, but Gracie’s ankle injury and increased susceptibility to submissions as a result may give her opponent a clear gameplan.
Kron Gracie x Victor Estima (Gi)
Kron, son of the legendary Rickson Gracie, is a former European Champion and Mundials Silver Medalist.
Victor, brother of multiple time world champion Braulio Estima, and reigning European and NoGi World Champion and multiple time medalist at major tournaments in his own right.
These two met twice at the Pan American Championships this year, with Victor losing the first by DQ in the absolute for a perceived knee reaping infringement, before Victor beat him 6-2 in the Middleweight division. I would expect a repeat of that latter result here for Victor.
Nino Schembri x Bill Cooper (Gi)
Nino, better known as “Elvis”, is a multiple time medalist at the Mundials and former MMA fighter, with a notable win over the “Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba. Well known in the sport for his unusual flexibility, Nino innovated and popularized the Omoplata, GoGoPlata and Rubber Guard. Nino was also BJJ coach to the Chute Boxe Academy for a time.
Bill Cooper, along with Jeff Glover was one of the young guns out of Paragon academy under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller. Under the broader Alliance banner, his most high profile result to date is silver in the 2008 Mundials Middleweight division, but he has been competing in the major IBJJF tournaments as well as other national US tournaments for many years.
These two have met before at the 2010 Jiu-Jitsu Pro Gear Open with Cooper taking the win. Schembri at 38 is by no means in his prime, but his flexibility and unorthodox game will still give most trouble; however, I expect Cooper to be too much for Nino here.
Kayron Gracie x Rafael Lovato Jr (Gi)
Kayron, son of IBJJF President Carlos Gracie Jr, has had some significant success on the mat, with a brown belt Mundials title in 2008, followed by a black belt and a series of big results at major tournaments, including 2010 and 2012 Pan Am gold.
Rafael is only the second Non-Brazilian Mundials champion at black belt (BJ Penn was the first), the only American to take Pan Am gold, the only American to take Brasiliero gold and was the first black belt to win the European Open, Pan-American, Brasilieros, and World Championships all in the same year (2007).
Kayron’s star seems to be on the rise and he made an impressive showing at this year’s Pans. Rafael has for some time been in a lonely group of elite Non-Brazilians. At his best, he can beat most players in the world, but I think Kayron will take this match.