Felipe Pena Wins IBJJF Worlds Absolute, Retires From Gi Competition

Felipe Pena has taken off the gi for good. At the 2021 IBJJF Worlds, Pena captured absolute gold then announced his retirement from gi competition.

After a disappointing loss to Erich Munis in the super-heavyweight division, Pena looked impressive in the absolute division, winning three matches against accomplished competitors.

In his first match of the absolute division, Pena worked methodically to sweep then pass the guard of Arnaldo Maidana to secure a 5-0 victory.

In the quarterfinals, Pena squared off with 2020 Pans champion Max Gimenis. Gimenis came out aggressively trying to pass Pena’s guard, earning a two-advantage lead early in the match. Pena’s guard held up, though, and he was able to sweep Gimenis using a single-leg X guard, then pass to side control for a dominant 5-0 lead. From there, Pena was dominant, racking up a 12-0 lead before tapping Gimenis with a collar choke with just under four minutes remaining in the match.

The semifinals saw Pena take on top-ranked IBJJF competitor Fellipe Andrew in a highly-anticipated match. Again, Pena used his single-leg X guard to sweep, establishing an early 2-0 lead. Andrew would then nearly sweep Pena, forcing Pena to retreat to his feet, where a wild wrestling exchange led to Andrew securing a takedown to tie the score at 2-2, but with Pena up by an two advantages. Andrew worked hard to try to pass Pena’s guard, but in the final minute, Pena used a double-pant grip to sweep Andrew for a 4-2 lead and a spot in the finals.

Pena was slated to take on rival Nicholas Meregali in the finals of the absolute division. But with Meregali disqualified from the competition due to an obscene gesture, the absolute finals were canceled.

After the event, Pena announced his retirement from gi competition. Importantly, Pena indicated that he still plans to compete in no-gi competition, including the 2022 ADCC Championships, as well as a potential move to MMA.

In gi competition, Pena was a three-time IBJJF world champion and a four-time Abu Dhabi World Pro champion.

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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