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BJJ Fanatics Instructionals

AJP Grand Slam Rio, Jansen Gomes, Zuchi, Meyram, And Protasio Dominate Talent Dense Divisions

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Mica Galvao Instructional

Better late than never! It took us a while to get through all matches of the AJP’s Grand Slam tournament in Rio de Janeiro, an event that took place on July 31st, 2022. The tournament gathered many of the sport’s top athletes, particularly those who reside in Brazil – one of the talent hotbeds of the sport.

The tournament had nearly 240 matches in the professional black belt division alone, more clashes than the IBJJF World Championships. A clear indicator of the size of this tournament’s importance for Brazil’s grappling community.

The AJPGS Rio de Janeiro also marked Paulo Miyao‘s first major competition as the head coach of Dream Art. The team had a very good day on the mats taking 4 gold medals (Meyram Maquiné, Yatan Bueno, Anna Rodrigues, Izadora Cristina), 1 silver (Rafael Paganini), and 1 bronze with newcomer Giovanna Jara.

Below are the results and reports on each of these professional divisions.

56-KILO DIVISION

All eyes were on Zayed Alkatheeri at roosterweight. The UAE athlete came in fairly unknown at black belt but made himself noticed right away with a solid first-round win over Frederico Guimarães by points while playing mostly from the bottom. A level of output that would carry Zayed all the way to the final.

On the opposite side of the bracket was, arguably, the division’s favorite, Yuri Hendrex of Cicero Costha. Hendrex proved his favoritism with one dominant showing after another throughout the tournament, which included his win over Alkatheeri in the final.

SEMI-FINALS
– Zayed Alkatheeri DEF. Welerson Silva: 6X5
Yuri Hendrex DEF. Jonas Vasconcelos: 6X1

FINAL
Yuri Hendrex DEF. Zayed Alkatheeri: 8X2

3RD PLACE
– Jonas Vasconcelos DEF. Welerson Silva: 2X2

62-KILO DIVISION

Another big player enters the room. This time it was AJP’s 2022 Brown Belt MVP (recently promoted to black belt), Mr. Leonardo Mario (Cicero Costha) who stole the show with an excellent gold medal performance.

Mario started the tournament by taking out one of the favorites, Nathannael Fernandes (student Melqui Galvão), a match that galvanized the young light featherweight to take on all challengers where he continued to show a very mature mindset and tremendous potential in his skillset.

SEMI-FINALS
– Matheus Lima DEF. Jhonathan Angelim: 6X3
– Leonardo Mario DEF. Ronald Dias: 3X2

FINAL
– Leonardo Mario DEF. Matheus Lima: Triangle kimura

3RD PLACE
– Jhonathan Angelim DEF. Ronald Dias: 3X1

69-KILO DIVISION

Another spectacular day for the Dream Art talent, Meyram Maquiné who oozed poise, class, and technique throughout the tournament. Most of Meyram’s wins were conquered quickly and skillfully – like a sniper – with only one of his 5 opponents surviving the submission prowess of Maquiné.

SEMI-FINALS
Meyram Maquine DEF. Fernando Favari: Choke from the back
– Alessandro Botelho DEF. Victor Nithael: Toe hold

FINAL
Meyram Maquine DEF. Alessandro Botelho: 2X1

3RD PLACE
– Marlus Salgado DEF. Joao Carvalho: 2X0

77-KILO DIVISION

A mini world championship took place at 77 kg with tons of top-tier talent in Rio de Janeiro’s AJP arena. On the roster were names such as former Brazilian Nationals champions Ygor Rodrigues and Yan Lucas, top prospect Pedro Maia, two of the most prolific athletes on the AJP Tour – André Cantanhede, Adriano Araujo, Tererê Project’s new prospect Jhonathan Marques, South Brazil’s talented Wesley Possami, Cantagalo Project’s Natan Chueng, and (of course) one of the men of the hour, Melqui Galvao’s student Luiz Paulo as well as the Potiguar talent that is Lucas Protásio.

With nearly every clash being superfight-worthy material, the action was plentiful in the division and victories only favored the grittiest challengers. Among all, none pushed harder than Checkmat’s Lucas Protásio last weekend. Lucas didn’t leave anything on the gas tank, always pushing forward tough his 5 matches, all of which were won via points.

SEMI-FINALS
Luiz Paulo DEF. Yan Lucas (Pica-Pau): Decision (0X0)
Lucas Protasio DEF. Natan Chueng: 1X0

FINAL
Lucas Protasio DEF. Luiz Paulo: 1X1

3RD PLACE
Yan Lucas DEF. Natan Chueng: Decision (0X0)

85-KILO DIVISION

Another stacked weight class, the 85KG division nearly had its own mat, given how many matches were set for this talent-dense bracket. Despite the many worthy challengers on deck, victory was earned by the young Checkmat Team black belt, Jansen “Nenego” Gomes, who went through 5 opponents to take his gold medal, including 4 major players of Brazil, namely Lucas Gualberto (Dream Art), Uanderson Ferreira (Commando Group), Rafael Paganini (Dream Art), and Leon Brito (BTT). Incredible test for this rookie black belt.

SEMI-FINALS
Rafael Paganini DEF. Gabriel Costa: 2X1
Jansen Gomes DEF. Leon Brito: RNC

FINAL
Jansen Gomes DEF. Rafael Paganini: 5X0

3RD PLACE
Gabriel Costa DEF. Leon Brito: 2X1

94-KILO DIVISION

What a weight class! Gabriel Henrique Oliveira, Rider Zuchi, Pedro Machado, Harryson Pereira, Fernando Cantareira, Hygor Brito and more. In this stacked division it was all down to NS Brotherhood’s Rider Zuchi, who is truly one of the current powerhouses of jiu-jitsu in Brazil.

SEMI-FINALS
Gabriel Henrique DEF. Harryson Pereira: 2X2
Rider Zuchi DEF. Fernando Cantareira: Submission*

FINAL
Rider Zuchi DEF. Gabriel Henrique: 2X0

3RD PLACE
Pedro Machado DEF. Hygor Brito: DQ

* Teammates clashed. As per AJP rules, they had to compete against each other. These are, traditionally, friendly/performative matches.

120-KILO DIVISION

The king of the scissor choke, Yatan Bueno, returned to good form at the Rio Grand Slam with another top performance where he – surprise, surprise – used his trademark maneuver, adding another win by his favored leg choke. Bueno went through four tough athletes to obtain his gold medal, taking two out via submission.

SEMI-FINALS
Yatan Bueno DEF. Pedro Alex (Bombom): Decision (0X0)
Wallace Costa DEF. Marcus Ribeiro (Scooby): 1X0

FINAL
Yatan Bueno DEF. Marcus Ribeiro: 5X0

3RD PLACE
Wallace Costa DEF. Herico Hesley: 4X2

49-KILO DIVISION

Dream Art’s Brenda Larissa is quickly cementing her claim as the #2 roosterweight in the world, behind Mayssa Bastos with another fun performance at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam. Larissa brought an interesting style, opting to play mostly from a top position in the most guard-centric weight class in the sport, and did so incredibly well.

SEMI-FINALS
Jessica Caroline DEF. Maria Sousa: 3X0
Brenda Larissa DEF. Diana Teixeira: 3X0

FINAL
Brenda Larissa DEF. Jessica Caroline: 3X1

3RD PLACE
Duda Tozoni DEF. Maria Sousa: 4X3

55-KILO DIVISION

Despite Rodrigues’ gold medal, the one to watch in the 55-kg division was Castro Team’s Dyna Sena who showed a very aggressive style, submitting her first two opponents before beating one of the breakthrough athletes of 2022, Gabriela Pereira via decision.

Champion Anna Rodrigues continues her winning path with another surgical performance. Never truly chasing the submission or visible dominance, but clearly, two steps ahead of her rivals, Rodrigues’ counter-attacking style reaped dividends.

SEMI-FINALS
Anna Rodrigues DEF. Maria Nunes: 4X0
– Dyna Sena DEF. Gabriela Pereira: Decision (0X0)

FINAL
Anna Rodrigues DEF. Dyna Sena: 2X0

3RD PLACE
– Gabriela Pereira DEF. Maria Nunes: Triangle

62-KILO DIVISION

We have been talking about Julia Alves for some time and she keeps proving us right. Once again the dynamic GF Team representative ran through the division, submitting all her opponents without suffering a single point. Alves was coming in from a double gold victory at the IBJJF Rio International Open and is once again at the forefront of female jiu-jitsu. Female lightweight division be warned, Alves is here to stay.

SEMI-FINALS
Julia Alves DEF. Maria Silva: Triangle armlock
– Maria Delahaye DEF. Ludmila Fiori: 6X6

FINAL
Julia Alves DEF. Maria Delahaye: Submission*

3RD PLACE
– Ludmila Fiori DEF. Jaine Fragoso: 1X0

* Teammates clashed. As per AJP rules, they had to compete against each other. These are, traditionally, friendly/performative matches.

70-KILO DIVISION

19-year-old phenom, Giovanna Jara continues to prove why she is one of the hottest prospects in the sport with another solid performance, her first in the brown and black belt division of the AJP, and her first event since earning her brown belt, nearly 2 months ago.

Despite her valiant efforts, Jara ended up stopped in the semi-finals with the AJP trophy going to Giovanna’s teammate and veteran, Izadora Cristina.

SEMI-FINALS
– Izadora Cristina DEF. Thalyta Silva (Thata): 2X2
– Rafaela Bertolot DEF. Giovanna Jara: 4X2

FINAL
– Izadora Cristina DEF. Rafaela Bertolot: 2X1

3RD PLACE
– Giovanna Jara DEF. Amanda Hening: 2X1

95-KILO DIVISION

City of God’s Gabrieli Pessanha continues to be the toughest puzzle to crack in the female division. Once again the Infight Team athlete cruised through the division with relative ease, but, perhaps, more impressive was her finals rival, Ingridd Alves, who played a more aggressive game throughout the tournament, pressing the action and making her matches very enjoyable to follow.

SEMI-FINALS
Ingridd Alves DEF. Tamiris Silva: Toe hold
Gabrieli Pessanha DEF. Welma Moreira: 3X0

FINAL
Gabrieli Pessanha DEF. Ingridd Alves: 2X0

3RD PLACE
– Welma Moreira DEF. Mayara Moreira: 9X0

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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