Monday, July 17, 2017

-48kg Analysis

Full Analysis

+100kg Men: Riner (FRA)
+78kg Women: Asahina (JPN)
-100kg Men: Haga (JPN)
-78kg Women: Tcheumeo (FRA)
-90kg Men: Toth (HUN)
-70kg Women: Arai (JPN)
-81kg Men: Khalmurzaev (RUS)
-63kg Women: Trstenjak (SLO)
-73kg Men: Soichi Hashimoto (JPN)
-57kg Women: Tsukasa Yoshida (JPN)
-66kg Men: Hifumi Abe (JPN)
-52kg Women: Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS)
-60kg Men: Naohisa Takato (JPN)
-48kg Women: Urantsetseg Munkhbat (MGL)

Munkhbat loves her newaza. A former world champion and tough as nails, she is the leading contender for -48kg gold in Budapest.
Top of the world rankings for women's -48kg is Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh, formerly from Mongolia and now fighting for Kazakhstan, who has a devastating ura-nage. However, in our opinion the top prospect is the No. 2 ranked Urantsetseg Munkhbat, a former world champion with killer newaza.

Munkhbat won the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam defeating Jeong Bok-kyeong of South Korea in the final. She also made it to the final of the 2017 Paris Grand Slam but there she lost to Jeong. The two met again in the semi-final of the 2017 Asian Championships where the Mongolian prevailed. In the final, Munkhbat met with Galbadrakh and won the gold. In the recent 2017 Hohhot Grand Prix Munkhbat didn't bother to lose weight and fought at -52kg where she lost to little-known Canadian Ecaterina Guica. But that competition was clearly a practice event for Munkhbat who will surely go back down to -48kg for the 2017 Budapest World Championships.

South Korea's Jeong is a scrappy fighter and not as technically accomplished as her rivals like Munkhbat, Galbadrakh or Japan's Ami Kondo although she does have a very strong side takedown technique. Mainly, she is all-action, all the time, which has proven to be effective against her opponents. She has beaten Munkhbat, Galbadrakh and Kondo at one time or another, so she is definitely a dangerous contender.

Kazakhstan's Galbadrakh is a fine fighter but since her good showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won bronze, she has lost to Munkhbat, Jeong and Kondo.

Japan's Kondo is a former world champion with a very strong harai-goshi, which is unusual for a lightweight and she is very capable on the ground. She sometimes finds difficulty going up against scrappy fighters like Jeong, whom she has fought twice in the past two years and lost on both occasions. She does better against the more upright and technical Munkhbat whom she has fought four times and won three of those exchanges. She lost to Galbadrakh the first time they fought at the beginning of 2016 but in the subsequent two matches they've had last year, it was Kondo who came up tops.

Argentina's World and Olympic Champion Paula Pareto, who is still in the Top 10 rankings (at No. 6), would be a top contender for the gold but it doesn't seem like she will be competing in Budapest. Argentina is sending four players to the World's and all are male. She did compete twice this year, both times in competitions in South America. So perhaps while she is not exactly retired, she is staying away from major international competitions.

A dark horse is Brazil's Stefanie Arissa Koyama, who was born in Japan and used to compete in domestic competitions there. She has since switched countries and has had some success, winning two Grand Prix gold medals this year. She has never fought any of the main contenders in the -48kg division in the IJF World Tour.

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