2022 IBJJF Worlds preview: Tye Ruotolo, Mica Galvao, Jonatha Alves and the lightweight division

The 2022 IBJJF Worlds take place on June 2-5, live from the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, CA. This is the premier gi tournament, attracting the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors in the world. Adult black belts will be competing on Saturday and Sunday.

The men’s lightweight division at the 2022 Worlds might be the most intriguing bracket of the entire event. Lightweight not only features divisional powerhouses like Jonatha Alves and Matheus Gabriel, but also exciting new additions Tye Ruotolo and Mica Galvao, both of whom will be making their black belt Worlds debut.

View the full 2022 Worlds lightweight bracket below (also available here).

Several potential match-ups immediately jump out. If Tye Ruotolo can get past no-gi world champion Hugo Marques in the first round, he’ll face top-seeded Jonatha Alves in the second round. An Art of Jiu-Jitsu product, Alves’ methodical and patient guard passing would make for an interesting match against the all-action, ultra-aggressive style of Ruotolo.

And on the other side of the bracket, all eyes will be on teenage phenom Mica Galvao. He is a recent ADCC Trials winner and has been on an impressive run, winning the BJJ Stars grand prix as well as the 2022 Brasileiros. Although he is seeded seventh, Galvao will be a favorite to make it deep into the tournament, where he has potential matches against Checkmat’s Matheus Gabriel in the quarterfinals, and Jonnatas Gracie or Espen Mathiesen in the semifinals.

Nothing is guaranteed, but jiu-jitsu fans are salivating over a potential lightweight final between Ruotolo and Galvao. The pair met last September at the Who’s Number One Championships, with Ruotolo winning a bizarrely uneventful decision. Both grapplers would certainly enjoy a chance to run it back.

Also of note, berimbolo specialist Levi Jones-Leary returns to the lightweight division after briefly moving up to middleweight. Jones-Leary is a superb back-taker and a dark horse of the division; he can look forward to a potential quarterfinal match with either Ruotolo or Alves.

Similarly, Atos representative Jonnatas Gracie, a 2019 brown belt world champion, returns to the lightweight division. Gracie is an excellent tactician, and a potential quarterfinal match against Mathiesen would make for an interesting contest.

How to watch: The 2022 Worlds take place on June 2-5 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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