Who Will Win The BJJ Bet Middleweight Tournament?

This Sunday at BJJ BET’S Grand Prix, eight elite-level athletes go to war in a seven-match tournament: Leandro Lo, Rafael Paganini, Rousimar Palhares, William Tacket, Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, Mica Galvao, Servio Tulio, and Mauricio Olivera.

This tournament will be stacked with legends, stars, stalwarts, and future champions… we will see fireworks.


In the opening matches, one of America’s most talented young athletes, William Tackett, versus the controversial leglock legend Rousimar Palhares. In the semifinals, the winner of this match faces Leandro Lo, one of the greatest Jiu-Jiteiro of all time.  


This is an exciting tournament. Let’s dive deeper to see how it may play out.

Competitors who don’t pose a threat.

In Bracket A of the tournament, you have Lo, Paganini, Palhares, and Tacket. On the opposite side you have Barbosa, Galvao, Tulio, and Olivera.

As of now, Tulio, Paganini, and Olivera will be eliminated.

These two stalwarts’ main Achilles heel is possessing less prowess in “No-Gi” grappling than their competitors. It’s safe to assume their competitors will outperform them.    

And although Servio Tulio is a blackbelt under the great Felipe Pena, he does not stand a chance against Lucas Barbosa. Why?

Servio Tulio’s last match was against an aggressive, athletic Isaque Bahiense, and he lost because of his opponent’s physicality. Imagine him facing an experienced No-Gi grappler, like Lucas Barbosa, who is 10-15 kilos heavier than Isaque Bahinese and twice as physicalit’s David versus Goliath.

Now, Rafael Paganini, the alliance stalwart, will face Leandro Lo in the opening round. Rafael Paganini rarely competes No-Gi, and he faces a multiple-time BJJ world champion who is one of the best P.F.P. grapplers to have ever graced the mat.

Statistically, Rafael Paganini has a low chance of winning.  

So, that leaves Mauricio Olivera.

I’d like to point out Mauricio Olivera is a bit different.

In 2018, as a brown belt, Olivera was recognized as one of the best grapplers of his generation. That said, NOBODY knows what his No-Gi game is like; he hasn’t competed in this circuit enough emphasis on enough.

This is why Mica Galvao, the 18-year-old prodigy, is most likely going to submit Olivera. Mica Galvao is no joke.

After transitioning entirely to the No-Gi scene, Galvao has beaten big stars such as John Combs, Pedro Marinho, Andrew Tackett, and Oliver Taza.

The young Brazilian is on a hot winning streak, and the chances of him losing are nil.

Potential Matchups

In this tournament, the guys you must watch are Lucas Barbosa, William Tacket, Mica Galvao, Leandro Lo, and Rousimar Palhares.

In the opening round, I believe Rousimar Pahlares will beat William Tacket but won’t submit him.

Palhares is significantly bigger and stronger than Tacketand enjoys relying on his physical attributes rather than technique to break his opponents.

The only smaller guy who beat Rousimar Pahlares was Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, and I don’t think William Tacket has risen to that level…. Yet.

Another way to put it is, Rousimar Pahlares is so explosive not even Gordan Ryan, the G.O.A.T., could submit him.

Likewise, a similar outcome will happen to Mica Galvaowhen he meets Lucas Barbosa. Lucas Barbosa is too big and too physical for the much smaller Mica Galvao to handle.

In time, I think Galvao and Tackett will beat both of these men, but for now, their technical prowess is insufficient to compensate for the strength differential.

Ultimately, this leaves Lucas Barbosa against RousimarPahlares or Leandro Lo in the final match, after Pahlaresand Lo duke it out in the semi-finals.

And based on their track records in competitions, I think Rousimar Palhares will beat Leandro Lo via heel hook.

Like many other “old school” grapplers, Leandro Lo has a deficiency in his game, leg locks. Although Leandro Lo did defend a 2017 Gordon Ryan’s heel hook attempts and eventually beat him by two points, I don’t think that will happen in this match.

Since 2017, Leandro Lo has significantly passed his prime and is not as active in our sport. He also competed in the Gi for most of his career and did not have to face many heel hook experts.

On the other hand, Rousimar Palhares is a former U.F.C. fighter and 2011 ADCC silver medalist who has been training No-Gi for most of his career.

In the 2011 ADCC the only person he lost to was Andre Galvaoa 5x ADCC champion.

Look, Rousimar Palhares might be known as “the dirtiest guy in combat sports,” but he can scrap, and he understands how to win.

This is why Palhares will take Leandro Lo’s leg home as a trophy.

Final Thought

The final matchup of BJJ BET’S Grand Prix will be RousimarToquinho Palhares vs. Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa.

This will be an exciting final!

A leg locking legend vs. one of the best competitors in 2021. And because this is a tournament under I.B.J.J.F. rules with heel hooks, I forecast Lucas Barbosa winning via points.

Lucas Barbosa is an excellent competitor who knows how to use stalling tactics to his advantage in tandem with his monstrous physical abilities.

In other words, his game will be able to shut down Rousimar Palhares’s leglocks.

During his 2019 ADCC run, Lucas Barbosa gave Gordon Ryan his most challenging match and nullified both the king’s heel hook attempts and attempts to score points… at least until the very end of the match.

There are not many (if any) individuals who can do that to Gordon Ryan.

But I could be wrong.

If Palhares gets a good bite around Barbosa’s leg, “Hulk” might leave the arena in a stretcher like many of Palhares’s past opponents…. That said, I do believe it’s statistically improbable of that happening.

These are my predictions, what are yours?



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