Michelle Nicolini (Blue Gi) is one of the most decorated female grapplers with 8 World Championships in the GI, 2 No Gi World Championships, 3 Pan Am Championships and 2 European Championships. She is also the 2013 -60kg ADCC champion.
This would be her final Worlds as she retired from Gi competition to concentrate on MMA where where she has compiled, to date, a 5-1 record (Please UFC…make Michelle vs Mackenzie. They had epic grappling matches and the world needs to see them punch and kick each other).
This match for Tammi Musumeci was her first World Championships, at the age of 19. She had shocked the BJJ community earlier that year by beating Mackenzie Dern in the Featherweight final of the Pan Ams. She also racked up the 2013 Feather Weight No Gi World Championship.
This is a favorite of mine as the effort of both of these women defines the word gameness. There is no stalling, no working for advantages only, no riding the time out for a point victory. They are constantly attacking. Secondly, this match has the most intense submission attempt I have ever seen. You will actually feel it as you watch it.
This is a historic match in that it is the first time that a non-brazilian won a world title in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. What is interesting as well is the backstory on BJ’s rise in BJJ.
BJ Penn (facing the camera at the start) started training in late 1997 or 1998. He is on record as winning a silver medal, as a blue belt, in the 1998 world championships. Two years later, in what is believed to be his first event at Black Belt, he wins a world championship. This is why they nicknamed him “The Prodigy.” After this event, I don’t believe he entered a competitive grappling match again. He went on to do that UFC thing and I guess he was pretty good at it.
Edson Dinitz was living in Florida around the time of this event and I knew him from watching him in local tournaments and regional MMA events. Edson was a favorite amongst all of us, regardless of affiliation, because he is a super nice guy, super talented, and always game for a match.
Knowing how good Edson was says something about BJ with his dominance in this fight. Take note also that this is one of the earliest uses of the body triangle as a means for controlling someones back that I have seen.