With Roger Gracie Out Of IBJJF Grand Prix, Who Should Replace Him


Following Roger Gracie’s epic win over Buchecha (and subsequent retirement from jiu-jitsu competition), there is now a vacant spot in the IBJJF Heavyweight Grand Prix lineup for August 26 in Las Vegas. 

The seven confirmed athletes for the invite-only tournament include: 
1. Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida (Checkmat)
2. Leandro Lo (NS Brotherhood)
3. Andre Galvao (Atos)
4. Joao Gabriel Rocha (Soul Fighters)
5. Mahamed Aly (Team Lloyd Irvin)
6. Ricardo Evangelista (GF Team)
7. Dimitrius Souza (Alliance)

Only one athlete per team is permitted to enter the Grand Prix, which offers a huge $40,000 cash prize for the winner.

Here are five athletes we feel could replace Roger Gracie in the IBJJF Heavyweight Grand Prix

Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu – Fight Sports

An experienced veteran known for his dynamic and unorthodox game, Cyborg is a fan favorite and a natural choice to shake things up int he GP. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see a rematch with Mahamed Aly after their insane battle at Worlds? 

Yuri Simoes – Caio Terra Association 

He just made his return to the gi last weekend, winning double gold in San Jose. He’s been training in the gi for his superfight with Travis Stevens, so Simoes should be in good shape for the Grand Prix. 

Felipe Pena – Gracie Barra 

Roger was the guy repping Gracie Barra among the eight athletes, and his exit has opened up a spot for somebody else from the team. Pena’s creds as a high-level competitor put him top of the list to carry the GB flag into battle. 

Rafael Lovato Jr. – Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu 

Xande was the Ribeiro rep last year, so letting Lovato Jr. take a stab at the GP this year seems only fair. Lovato is currently signed up for the Masters Worlds that same weekend, so the short notice call-up shouldn’t be a problem for him. 

Travis Stevens – Renzo Gracie Team

This is a long shot, but why not call up the Olympic judo silver medalist, a Renzo Gracie team black belt? He’s an animal on the mat whether standing or on the ground, and his name guarantees a lot of extra attention on this already prestigious tournament. 

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Last modified: August 2, 2017

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