The 2023 IBJJF Pan Ams, the second major tournament of the season, has come to a close, and it was a spectacle to behold. It seems like Pan Ams grows bigger and bigger each year, with a record number of participants this year, the competition was on fire, and the performances and matchups were nothing short of outstanding.

Nicholas Meregali Continues Quest of Becoming The GOAT

Nicholas Meregali

One of the brightest stars of the tournament was Nicholas Meregali. The reigning IBJJF absolute world champion showed his dominance in his return to BJJ gi competition, taking home double gold at Pans.

He clinched six submissions in seven bouts, finishing all three of his opponents in the ultra heavyweight division with chokes from the back. In the absolute bracket, he stormed through the competition, hitting a smother submission from mount and two more chokes from the back before outscoring Erich Munis 11-0 in the final.

Meregali's performance over Munis was in contrast to his last outing at Worlds, where he split two matches with the Dream Art representative in close, low-scoring bouts. These were the first Pans titles of Meregali's black belt career, marking his seventh and eighth major IBJJF titles at the black belt ranks.

Tainan Dalpra Remains Undefeated at Black Belt

Tainan DalpraTainan Dalpra was another standout at Pans, remaining dominant in the middleweight division and earning his Pans title. That makes him the most successful middleweight in the history of Pans, surpassing a batch of athletes who have earned two Pans titles.

His title run included three matches with two submission victories and 19 unanswered points, bringing his IBJJF competition record to 57-0 with a 72-percent submission rate.

Gabi Pessanha Continues Her Greatness

Gabi Pessanha earned her seventh consecutive double gold at a major IBJJF tournament to win her fourth and fifth Pans titles. In the absolute final, she overcame Ana Carolina Vieira, who is the only athlete ever to beat her in IBJJF competition at the black belt level. Pessanha submitted three of her five opponents and put 38 points on the board without conceding any. This brings her submission rate for the year to seven for nine - 78-percent - on the year. Four more athletes are on track to complete the Grand Slam in 2023, winning Euros, Pans, Brasileiros, and Worlds in the same season.

Weekend Was Full of Amazing Matches

Adam WardzinskiOverall, the tournament was filled with top-level disruptors, with athletes like Adam Wardzinski, Elisabeth Clay, Gustavo Batista, and Marcio Andre earning major titles.

In addition to the standout performances mentioned above, there were also several other athletes who secured their first black belt Pans titles this weekend. Diogo Reis defeated 2021 world champion Diego Pato in the light featherweight final, winning four matches in total and showcasing his impressive takedowns and top game. Larissa Dias, the 2022 heavyweight world champ, won her first Pans title in a two-match road to gold, earning a toe hold victory over Dream Art Rookie Tamiris Silva before outscoring Ingridd Alves in the final. Zayed Al-Katheeri became the first Emarati Pan champion with his victory in the roosterweight division, outscoring AOJ rookie Hiryu Niwa in the final, and submitting two of his opponents en route to the final.

Dream Art won both the male and female team titles by massive margins at the 2023 IBJJF Pans Championships, with an impressive medal haul. Several medalists are on track to earn a Grand Slam in 2023, including Giovanna Jara, who has earned double gold at both Euros and Pans.

Cole Abate Dominates At Brown Belt

Brown belt Cole Abate also had a monster performance at Pans in his first major tournament as a brown belt, submitting four of his five opponents and showcasing his back attack game.

An Exciting Year Is Still To Come!

Overall, the 2023 IBJJF Pan Ams was a showcase of top-level talent, with many athletes demonstrating their dominance in their respective divisions. With several athletes on track to achieve the Grand Slam feat this season, it will be exciting to see what the rest of the year holds for the remainder of the major IBJJF tournaments.

March 27, 2023