An enthralling, weeklong Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship culminated in a dramatic final day of action on Friday as the sport’s elite men and women grappled for global glory on the mat at Jiu Jitsu Arena, with Brazilian fighters dominating the gold medal matches and topping the podium 11 times from 12 finals.
Finals day of the professional brown/black belt men’s and women’s divisions was a true global gathering at the home of jiu-jitsu with the 12 matches featuring 24 athletes from 9 countries: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Georgia, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Poland.
The geographical spread of countries – spanning four continents – represented on the mat, is a sign of how important the ADWPJCC, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is to the world’s athletes, in terms of prestige and ranking points.
Featuring a host of top-ranked athletes, the high-calibre schedule crowned the winners of 12 World Pro titles: in seven male black belt weight divisions and five female brown / black belt weight divisions.
At the end of a day of top-class action Brazil topped the country rankings with a stunning total of 11 gold medals and two silvers. Argentina finished second with one gold and one silver, while Poland finished third in the rankings with two silver medals.
Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, awarded gold, silver and bronze medals, and championship belts, to the newly crowned jiu-jitsu heroes. Other high-profile dignitaries watching the gripping finals included: Salem Sultan Al Suwaidi, Director of the Emirates Red Crescent Authority – Abu Dhabi Center.
After a successful 13th edition of the largest and most prestigious jiu-jitsu event on the global calendar, the second ADWPJJC in the space of seven months, Abdul Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, said: “Jiu-jitsu is on an exciting journey and Abu Dhabi is at the heart of that upward trajectory. I would like to extend our warmest gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for his generous patronage and unwavering support that enables us to provide a platform for the world’s athletes to compete.
“In this year’s edition, we were pleased with the return of many stars from around the world who built themselves a large fanbase during their distinguished participation in past editions of the tournament, and this is a great gain, but what pleased us most is the emergence of a large number of new stars who recorded a strong first appearance in Abu Dhabi. We look forward to the return of world stars again to the capital of jiu-jitsu Abu Dhabi next year for the 14th edition of the championship, which will be held from November 10 to 19, 2022.”
The day’s action got off to a dramatic start when Brenda Larissa, from Brazil, beat Argentina’s Eliana Carusi by decision after a gripping, five-minute women’s brown/black Roosterweight final.
“I’m very happy with my performance today. I put myself under a bit of pressure because I had won gold in my three previous times at the Abu Dhabi World Pro, so it’s great to make it a fourth gold and continue my 100% record at this fantastic event.
Nathannael Fernandes made it two wins from two for Brazil when he outfought compatriot Francisco Jonas Andrade to claim gold with a 2-1 victory in the men’s black belt Light Featherweight final.
“It’s only been two weeks since I got my black belt, so this is a dream for me. Just being in the final was an achievement, but to beat the No.1 player in the division is something else. It’s always great to come here, I won blue belt gold in 2019, but I will never forget this Abu Dhabi World Pro experience. This is just the beginning; I will be back.”
Ana Rodrigues followed her compatriots on to the top of the podium in the third final of the day, getting the better of her opponent, Rose El Sharouni, from the Netherlands to claim a 3-1 victory in the women’s brown/black belt Featherweight final and secure her first ADWPJCC medal on her third appearance.
“I have been training so hard every day for this. I have wanted it so bad because this championship is just amazing. I love fighting here on this stage, thank you Abu Dhabi for giving us this platform. I love this country and this championship. This is my dream,” said an emotional Rodrigues.
Brazilian dominance continued when Diogo Reis proved too good for Georgia’s Giorgi Razmadze in the men’s black belt Featherweight final to take a 5-2 victory. The exceptional Beatriz Mesquita demonstrated her class in earning the first submission of finals day to win gold in the women’s brown/black belt lightweight final, stopping opponent Margot Ciccarelli, from Italy, after 3:54 minutes.
Argentina’s Pablo Lavaselli snapped Brazil’s winning streak with a 2-0 win over Brazilian rival Israel Almeida in the men’s Lightweight final. And afterwards he said: “This was quite a challenge to lose the weight to make the 69kg category having fought at 77kg previously. but I have a good team behind me, and we got it done. All the hard work and sacrifice has paid off. It’s a great experience, I want to come back and keep competing.”
“I have to thank Abu Dhabi and the UAEJJF. As a Federation they really treat us like professionals, give us the platform, help us get here and the environment is great.”
Ingridd Sousa made it six Brazil golds from seven finals with a 5-2 victory over Poland’s Magdalena Loska in the women’s Middleweight clash, before Michael Galvão grabbed another gold for the South American jiu-jitsu powerhouse, defeating Norwegian opponent Espen Mathieson by submission in the men’s Welterweight final.
Isaque Braz, from Brazil was too strong for his opponent William Dias, from Australia, to take men’s Middleweight gold with a dominant 7-0 win, before crowd favourite Gabrieli Pessanha came from 2-1 down to defend her heavyweight gold with a late 3-2 victory over Yara Nascimento.
Erich Munis then claimed Brazil’s 10th gold of the day with a 4-2 victory over Poland’s Adam Wardzinski, in the men’s Light Heavyweight final, as Poland finished with two silvers.
The action was wrapped up in emphatic style in the final match on the mat, with Gutemberg Pereira claiming gold with a 16-0 victory over Angola’s Walter Dos Santos in the men’s black belt Super Heavyweight final.
Source: Emirates News Agency