JANUARY 17, 2020, Mubadala Arena — Abu Dhabi. The Queen Of Mats Grand Prix opened up for one of the biggest events on the AJP Tour calendar, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. This heavyweight tournament, which is encompassed by a larger event on the UAE capital, featured the champions from past Grand Slam tournaments for one mega event with some of the top athletes on the circuit, including last year’s UAEJJF #1 ranked athlete Gabrieli Pessanha.
The aforementioned Gabrieli, one of the most revered talents of the modern jiu-jitsu generation, started the QOM against Thamara Ferreira of the Cicero Costha Academy. This was one of the most important matches of Group A, given that both athletes were seen as possible favorites to win the event. The dangerous guard of Ferreira added tons of pressure to Pessanha, which resulted in a 4 points lead in the first minute. Pessanha, however, did not give up and kept her relentless pace. This “never say die” attitude reaped rewards as Gabrieli ended up turning the result around (6×4) before taking a submission.
Group B was incredibly balanced, with all 3 athletes having a good chance of making the podium. Only two could advance and those two were Gracie Barra’s Kendal Reusing and the Brazilian Globetrotter Nathiely de Jesus, who is currently representing Rodrigo Pinheiro’s Academy. Full results from the group stages below.
The first semi-final saw a bad start for Reusing completely kill her chances of making the final. An accomplished wrestler, Kendall started the match looking for a way to score from standing. When searching for the right angle to attack one of her famous double leg takedowns, she slipped and found herself with Pessanha on her back. Although she managed to survive, Pessanha was too good to let such a large advantage fly.
The other semi-final, unexpectedly, was a cakewalk for Nathiely de Jesus. Thamara is one of the toughest females in the sport but looked somewhat diminished on the mats, possibly suffering from an injury(?). The result was a quick submission finish for de Jesus.
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
– Thamara Ferreira def. Kendall Reusing by 4×2
Gabrieli and Nathiely played nothing but offense on their way to the final, but for their final match, Strategy was the name of the game. Very calculated performances by both athletes. In the end, it was an early sweep by Pessanha that defined the winner.