Over the last decade, the popularity of BJJ has exploded. New BJJ schools are emerging in every town, and more people than ever are training in Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ competitions are a way for practitioners to test their BJJ skills against resisting opponents.
Whilst most competitions adopt IBJJF rules, organizations are free to create their own regulations and rules. BJJ competitions can consist of several rulesets including, Sub-Only, No-Gi, ADCC and IBJJF rules.
With so many different BJJ competitions available, picking a tournament can be challenging. To help, we have put together this guide on the best BJJ competitions in the world.
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ADCC – Abu Dhabi Combat Club
ADCC is the equivalent of the Superbowl for No-Gi grappling. Taking place every other year, ADCC features fighters from several grappling disciples.
ADCC has developed its own ruleset. The first half of the fight is submission only, encouraging grapplers to hunt for submissions. The second half of the match uses a more traditional points-based system to determine a winner if there is no submission.
To secure a place at ADCC, you need to compete in one of their regional qualifying events. The ADCC trials take place all over the globe and feature some of the best grapplers battling it out to secure their place at ADCC.
IBJJF – International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation
The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the largest BJJ organization in the world. Founded by Carlos Gracie Jnr, the IBJJF hold many of the world’s biggest competitions, including the IBJJF Worlds, Pan American Championship, European Champions and the No-Gi worlds.
The IBJJF uses a points system to rank athletes around the globe. The points are determined using three ranking factors.
- Tournament place – The position the fighter finished in the tournament.
- The tournament ranking factor – How prestigious the competition is.
- The year weighting factor – The IBJJF includes points from the current and two previous years.
Alongside their large competitions, the IBJJF holds many regional tournaments throughout the year. IBJJF events are contested fiercely by the best grapplers on the competitive circuit. The vast majority of BJJ organizations have adopted the IBJJF competition ruleset.
Polaris is Europe’s most established professional grappling event. The promotion features both Gi and No-Gi matches and attracts some of the biggest names from BJJ, Submission Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts.
Polaris was awarded the title of “promotion of the year” at the 2020 Jitsmagazine BJJ Awards. The organization has received positive feedback in the Jiu-Jitsu community for the high quality of their event production and the high-level athletes they have been able to attract to compete.
Matches at Polaris are not points-based, with fighters able to win either via submission or decision. Polaris main card bouts are 15 minutes long, whilst preliminary fights take place for 10 minutes.
Submission Underground is a professional grappling event presented by Chael Sonnen and is currently streamed exclusively on UFC fight pass.
SUG attracts some of the best grappling talent from around the globe. Over the past five years, Submission Underground has featured the likes of John Jones, Miesha Tate, Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones.
Chael Sonnen himself commentates on all the action podcast-style as he sits watching along with the fans.
UAEJJF Grand Slam (UAEJJF)
Established in November 2012, the UAEJJF is the official authority for Jiu-Jitsu in the United Arab Emirates. The Federation has implemented policies to help develop the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in partnership with various government entities and educational organizations.
The UAEJJF holds multiple events per year that feature both amateur and professional grapplers from around the globe. Athletes can earn points at regional qualifying events to win travel and accommodation packages for the Abu Dhabi World Pro.
The UAEJJF has a vision – “To make the UAEJJF a leading organization and a symbol for Jiu-Jitsu sports globally”. It is clear from the investment they are putting into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that they are well on their way to achieving their vision.
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Grappling Industries has cemented itself as one of the most popular BJJ organizations in the world. The organization holds multiple events weekly all around the globe.
Grappling Industries was founded with the vision of putting on the most organized and best value for money Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission wrestling tournaments. The organization is committed to the development of BJJ and promotes inclusive grappling tournaments for competitors around the world.
Their competitions follow a Round Robin format, ensuring that all competitors get a minimum of four fights. That means that if you enter both Gi and No-Gi divisions, you are guaranteed a minimum of eight fights. The Grappling Industries competition format allows you to compete against a range of different people, giving you valuable competition mat time.
NAGA – North American Grappling Association
Founded in 1995, the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) is one of the worlds largest grappling organizations. NAGA holds both No-Gi Grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and features some of the best submission grapplers from around the world.
NAGA grappling tournaments consist of both No-Gi and Gi divisions. Gi competitors compete under IBJJF rules, whereas No-Gi competitors compete under rules specific to NAGA.
NAGA also features some of the best prizes in amateur grappling. Their awards include championship belts, medals, BJJ apparel and even samurai swords.
Fight 2 Win
Fight 2 Win hosts live BJJ shows across the United States. Known as “The biggest party in grappling“, fights feature the top grapplers from the local area and take place in a super-fight format creating a live experience similar to Mixed Martial Arts events.
Fight 2 Win events have one of the best BJJ productions in the country, featuring high-quality audio and visuals and an elevated mat to improve the audience’s experience.
If Fight 2 Win is holding an event in your local area, you can make an application to fight on their website.
How To Choose A BJJ Competition?
With so many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments to choose from, picking a competition can be challenging.
So, to help, we have put together a list of factors to consider and help you decide.
- Gi VS No-Gi – Some competitions hold both Gi & No-Gi brackets on the same day, whilst others specialise in just one form of grappling.
- Location – How far will you travel to compete? You should weigh up the reputation of the tournament against the time it takes to get there.
- Your experience level – How many tournaments have you competed in? If it is your first competition, we recommend entering a regional competition. Don’t enter the IBJJF worlds or ADCC trials for your first competition.
- Entry Fees – Tournaments can be expensive! If you are looking to make the most of your money, we recommend entering a regional competition that offers both Gi & No-Gi brackets.
- Competition Reputation – Not all tournaments are created equal! Make sure the competition has a good reputation. It is essential that the competition is both safe and runs efficiently.
- Tournament format – How many fights are you guaranteed? Some competitions are knock-out, whilst others have a round-robin or group format.
When choosing a BJJ tournament, you should weigh up the positives and negatives of each BJJ competition. Practitioners who are looking to compete in prestigious BJJ competitions should be prepared to travel further and spend more money on entry fees.
Most Prestigious BJJ Competitions
Below is a list of the most prestigious BJJ competitions in the world.
- Abu Dhabi Combat Challange (ADCC)
- IBJJF World Championships (IBJJF)
- Five Gi and No-Gi Grappling (FIVE)
- Asian Open Championship (IBJJF)
- Abu Dhabi World Pro (UAEJJF)
- UAEJJF Grand Slams (UAEJJF)
- IBJJF Pan Ams (IBJJF)
- Jiu-Jitsu World League (JJWL)
The great thing about BJJ is that hobbyists can fight against some of the best grapplers in the world. You can either enter yourself or win a place by competing in a qualifying event.
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What Is The Best BJJ Competition In The World?
All of the competitions featured in this article are established BJJ organizations with a good reputation in the BJJ community. You should always weigh up factors such as your experience level, the location and the entry fees before entering a competition.
BJJ competitions around the world consist of different rulesets including, IBJJF, No-Gi, Submission Only and ADCC rules.
Entering a BJJ tournament is a great way to improve as a grappler and test your skills. While the ultimate goal is to win the tournament, do not put too much pressure on yourself. Remember to have fun!
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