MARCH 14, 2021 – This weekend the AJP Tour set an important precedent in jiu-jitsu by hosting two legitimate international open style events on two different continents, namely the Abu Dhabi Tour Grand Slam in Moskow and the Abu Dhabi International Pro, this way pushing back on the current “isolation” circumstances in which our sport has been over the past 12 months.
First, “what is the AJP Tour”? The AJP stands for Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro, the brand associated with the famous United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF). It supervises one of the largest grappling circuits in the sport, which features big tournaments such as the Grand Slams held in Abu Dhabi, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles/Miami, and Rio de Janeiro, as well as the World Pro, and a network of feeder events.
While the IBJJF – the other major jiu-jitsu governing body – has been stuck in the US circuit, restricted by America’s stifling rules surrounding public sporting events, the AJP has reaped the benefits of being stationed in the United Arab Emirates, a country that is currently graced by a more lenient approach to the COVID19 Pandemic.
Allowed to plan ahead, the organization has moved forward with setting up the 2021 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (World Pro), a tournament set to take place during the second weekend of April (8-9).
In the meantime, the AJP has produced several events over these past couple of months, in Brazil, Australia, and Eastern Europe, making the most of the open channels existing in these countries.
This weekend we had the pleasure of watching the Grand Slam, Moscow, which featured several international competitors, including the Brazilians Jonas Andrade (Cicero Costha – 56kg), and Wallace Costa (GFT – 120kg), as well as Polish butterfly guard master Adam Wardzinski (Checkmat – 94kg) – all of who won their respective divisions.
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On another side of the world, the AJP was also featuring the Abu Dhabi International Pro in the UAE. The tournament featured male and female athletes – more than 500 competitors – from white to black belt, over a two-day span.
Promoted as a tremendous success, the tournament was held in adherence to strict health and safety protocols in coordination with local and federal authorities. According to the federation, the AD International Pro featured an array of nationalities, including Brazil, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Ukraine, Serbia, Ireland, Bahrain, Italy, Sweden, Iran, and more.
The stars of the AD International Pro were Roosevelt Sousa – the former Fight Sports athlete – who conquered the 120-kilogram weight class with a dominant showing, Renato Cardoso (former Pan American medalist) who returned to competition after a long absence, taking gold and submitting all his matches, as well as the Atos light-featherweight player, Pablo Mantovani, who took gold in a tough division.
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The success of both the Moscow Grand Slam and the Abu Dhabi Pro has shined a bright light on the future of jiu-jisu’s international circuit, giving room to the idea of an open, world circuit sometime in the (not so distant) future, something that would certainly help to a lot of athletes in need of furthering their careers.