The Pluma division is perhaps one of the toughest divisions for the 2nd year in a row. One side of the bracket pits the 1st place finisher from last year up against the European Champion and 2nd place finisher from the Pan, Rikako Yuasa (Pogona Club Gym). These ladies fight their first match together and both would have been favorites to come up against either Melissa Biscardi (Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu) or the Pan Champion Tammi Musumeci (Alliance) or the Brasileiro Champion, Ariadne de Oliveira (Mestre Wilson). The winner between Elizabeth and Rikako will probably come up against Tasawan Kovitprakornkul (Ribeiro Jiu-JItsu) in the semis. This division is way too close to call but I’m going to go on limb and say we’ll see Tammi and Elizabeth in the finals with Elizabeth coming out on top. However, Melissa has the better draw, one never knows. If I am right, I’ll be disappointed that this means we won’t see Rikako’s ass-kicking style against the bigger ladies in the open since you have to medal to get the chance to fight. Who designed these brackets anyway??
With last year’s guaranteed champion fighting at brown this year, the Pena division is open for the taking! Top contenders on page one are European Champion Christine McDonagh (Gracie Barra), 2011 Worlds 2nd Place finisher Yasmine Wilson (Gracie Elite). The winner of this first match will probably come up against Karen Souza (CheckMat), the Brasileiro Champion and 2nd Place Pan finisher (at Leve). The other side will bring 1st Place Pan finisher and 2nd Place Euro finisher Emilie Thylin (Gracie Humaita) up against Kristina Barlaan in a rematch from the Pan finals. I predict Emilie vs Karen Souza in the semis. The second page has less known talents, but I see Viance Jager as the most likely finalist. I think the winner of page 1 will end up with the Gold, assuming the rougher draw doesn’t tire her out.
Leve will most likely see Mizuho Sato (Itadaki Jiu-Jitsu) who placed 3rd at medio last year as a contender, assuming she is able to overcome Eirin Nygren (Frontline Academy) who placed 2nd at blue last year and placed 3rd at the Euros this year. The winner will probably come up against Margaret Aase who won first place at blue belt last year. Page 2 is pretty much a toss up with a bunch of lesser known competitors, but best options in my opinion would be Jennifer Recinos (Gracie Humaita), Jena Bishop (Gracie Humaita) or Karna Nelson (Alliance). But any one of these ladies could show up and demand her medal! I can’t declare a winner in such an unknown mix of mostly newer purple belts.
It is so awesome to see how Medio has (and all the purple belt divisions have) grown over time! With last year’s Champion up at Brown and the 2nd place finisher being held out of the Adult division by the IBJJF (Dominyka Obelenyte), best contenders here are Victoria Hudson Trueb (Roberto Traven BJJ) who won 1st at blue belt last year and placed 1st this year at the Pan, abd Janni Larsson (CheckMat) who won the Euros at Leve, but don’t count out Jill Baker (Jean Jacques Machado) who won the Masters division at the Pan. The winner of their side (probably Victoria) will come up against Nathalia Azoff (BTT Boston). This final has all the makings of a repeat of the final at the Pan and I believe Victoria will be the victor once again.
Meio-Pesado has no medalist from last year or from the Euros or even from the Adult division at this year’s Pan so once again, this is up for grabs! With that being the case I see ADCC Veteran Fiona Muxlow (Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu) coming up against Brooke Goldsworthy (Crispim BJJ Barra Brothers) in the semis. The winner is likely to face Alison Tremblay (BTT) who won 2nd place at last year’s worlds at blue belt.
The smallest of all the female divisions, Pesado will likely find Venla Luukkonen (Hili BJJ), European Champion and 3rd place finisher in 2011 in the final. Who she will face is less certain with Maia Matalon (Gracie Elite) the Pan Open Weight Champion and 2nd place weight class finisher coming up against 2011 Champion Cristiane Justino (Atos Jiu-Jitsu). The winner will face Hillary VanOrnum (Team Quest) who placed 1st in the Pan Masters division. However, I predict that Cristiane will take the gold yet again.
I know, I know, just crucify me if I’m wrong.
I hope that my predictions have introduced you to more of the female purple belts than you knew before reading this! (As that is really my true goal and reason for doing this, lol!)