DECEMBER 07, 2020, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This past weekend grappling fans had the chance to witness an event, many would say, was the most talent dense event of the year. We are writing about the AJP Tour – formerly UAEJJF – Rio de Janeiro stage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour.
Not only did the tournament feature well-established competitors such as former IBJJF World and Pans Champions, but it also gathered the interest of the new generation of super-talents from the famous breeding grounds of São Paulo, Manaus, and Rio de Janeiro, including from teams such as the Cicero Costha’s PSLPB, Dream Art, GUIGO Jiu-Jitsu, Almeida JJ and more. To grasp the level of talent on the mats yesterday, we can look at stars such as former middleweight world and ADCC open weight champion Claudio Calasans and Pans and World Champ Hiago George, who couldn’t go past the first round of the event.
We would like to highlight also the number of female competitors in this event, which vastly surpassed that of the IBJJF World and Pans Championships, having more athletes and matches than both of those combined. A real tribute to how much these athletes in Brazil want to compete and show their skill set to the fans.
Below is a rundown of each individual division.
BLACK / LIGHT FEATHERWEIGHT (UNDER 56KG)
Although Jonas Andrade ran the perfect tournament, beating two world medalists in Raul Marcello and Rodnei Barbosa on his way to gold, the man of the hour was an 18-year-old black belt – Diogo Reis, a student of Melqui Galvão in Manaus.
Promoted a few days ago, Reis took the tournament by storm, submitting his first two challengers with flashy moves, one of them the nouveau Tarikoplata. Reis took the champion, Jonas Andrade, to the limit, losing by referee decision in the final. An incredible talent we have in our hands at roosterweight for 2021.
#1 JONAS ANDRADE
PSLPB Cicero Costha
#2 DIOGO REIS
Alliance Dream Art
#3 ROITER LIMA
BLACK / FEATHERWEIGHT (UNDER 62KG)
Once again the new generation dominated a division teeming with well-established talent. Two IBJJF Pan American champions lost in the 1st and 2nd rounds to the newcomers, namely Hiago George and Cleber Sousa, although Sousa of Almeida JJ was able to climb his way back to the podium through the repechage rounds.
Fabricio Andrew and Meyram Maquine caused havoc in the 62-kilogram division, Andrey with a more submission oriented game and Meyram with a strategic/position based game.
Dream Art’s Andrey submitted three on his way to the final, which included two highly respected competitors in Wesley Santos and Cleber Sousa before losing to Maquine in the final by two points.
BLACK / LIGHTWEIGHT (UNDER 69KG)
One of Dream Art’s coaches decided to come to Rio de Janeiro to test what he teaches and what a showing he had!
This was one of the hardest divisions of the tournament. 6 grueling matches to earn a gold medal and a roster that included big names of the sport such as Leo Saggioro, Alex Sodré, Jonata Gomes, Israel Sousa, Murilo Amaral, Joao “Bisnaga” Mendes to mention a few.
With great matches from top to bottom, it was the aforementioned Gabriel Figueiró, of Dream Art that took home the big prize, earning two submissions during his run.
BLACK / WELTERWEIGHT (UNDER 77KG)
The Dream Art army came in strong for the event, with one of its newest black belts earning a big gold medal last night, Lucas Gualberto, AKA “Simba”. This was Gualberto’s first big test in the sea of sharks that was the Grand Slam’s welterweight division, and he showed up more than ready, with a strategical and tactically flawless game with which he took out Six Blades’ Yan “Pica-Pau”, Almeida’s Luis Ribas (who looked incredible throughout the tournament), the always tough Natan Chueng and the huge rising Nova Uniao star that is Victor Nithael. 4 grueling matches elegantly won by Gualberto and a great sign for his future in this division.
BLACK / MIDDLEWEIGHT (UNDER 85KG)
Formerly a student of Cicero Costha and Leandro Lo, veteran Wellington “Alemão” looked as if he was going to be one of the stars of the middleweight division, after his silver medal at the IBJJF World Championships and UAEJJF World Pro title as a brown belt. Sadly, he has not competed abroad since earning his black belt, 5 years ago.
Although unable to shine internationally, Wellington proved he still has what it takes to be one of the big players in the sport this weekend with an impressive gold medal.
The 85-kilogram division featured an array of grappling “monsters”, which included Jaime Canuto, Claudio Calasans, Alexandre Jesus, Gabriel Costa “Maranhão”, Rafael Paganini, Alex Munis, and plenty more. Alongside Alemão, we would like to highlight Marcos Martins – the talented “Petcho” of Barbosa JJ as one of the tournament’s most impressive performers. Marcos had a tremendous run, up until he met his training partner Wellington Alemão, in which he defeated Claudio Calasans, Gabriel Costa, and Rafael Paganini. Truly outstanding performance.
Petcho’s form has been truly impressive as of late, with his past 6 matches being wins over the aforementioned top-grapplers as well as Ronaldo Junior, Servio Tulio, and Alexandre Jesus.
BLACK / LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (UNDER 94KG)
On paper, Gutemberg was a solid favorite in the 94-kilogram division, and the GF Team technician did not disappoint. One of the smoothest grapplers at this weight, Pereira masterfully dominated the division.
Rising star Rider Zuchi has impressed over the past few months, and although not well known outside Brazil, should be looked at as one of a top 10 contender given his 2020 career. Rider looked particularly good against the power-house that is Harryson Pereira, who was seen as a podium challenger.
BLACK / SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT (UNDER 120KG)
GF Team’s newest black belt, Wallace Costa continues to impress in a big way. A late bloomer, Wallace joined jiu-jitsu in his 20s and quickly climbed the ranks of the sport with this debut only further solidifying his claim as one of the scariest ultra-heavyweights around. Wallace took out two of the tournament’s favorites in Anderson Munis and Igor Schneider for gold.
Equally impressive was Erich Munis of Dream Art. Erich has been pointed as one of the top stars in the sport since his purple belt run of 2019. Now in the big league of grappling, Munis has not disappointed. Last night he took out two top-level judokas in Duzão Lopes of Guigo JJ, Checkmat’s Felipe Bezerra, while also beating the power-house that is GFT’s, Pedro Pimenta. Superb performance.
FEMALE GI / BROWN / BLACK / ADULT / ROOSTERWEIGHT (UNDER 49KG)
19YO Maria Ono shocked the grappling world by winning a division many believed to be destined for Alliance’s Brenda Larissa. 3 very hard-fought wins for gold in a tough category.
#1 MARIA ONO
#2 BRENDA LARISSA
#3 POLYANNA ARAUJO
FEMALE GI / BROWN / BLACK / ADULT / LIGHT FEATHERWEIGHT (UNDER 55KG)
A top-notch performance by Bianca, who many believed was the favorite to win the show, but equally impressive displays of jiu-jitsu by runner-up Amanda Monteiro and Gabi Fechter (3rd Place), who all looked tremendous in this very, very even division.
#1 BIANCA BASILIO
#2 AMANDA MONTEIRO-CANUTO
#3 GABRIELA FECHTER
FEMALE GI / BROWN / BLACK / ADULT / LIGHTWEIGHT (UNDER 62KG)
Brown belt Julia Alves dominated her division, suffering solely 1 point (advantage) in the whole tournament. Fantastic performance by the GF Team standout, a team that is proving to be returning in full force with a renovated female team.
#1 JULIA ALVES
#2 IVHALAYNIE MEIRA
#3 GABRIELA PEREIRA
FEMALE GI / BROWN / BLACK / ADULT / MIDDLEWEIGHT (UNDER 70KG)
The toughest female division of the tournament was dominated by the outstanding jiu-jitsu of Julia Boscher. Boscher made her career as a member of the Soul Fighters team, who is now representing GF Team since SF has ceased to exist.
#1 JULIA BOSCHER
#2 THAMARA FERREIRA
#3 SABATHA LAÍS
Ryan Gracie Team
FEMALE GI / BROWN / BLACK / ADULT / HEAVYWEIGHT (UNDER 95KG)
#1 GABRIELI PESSANHA
#2 YARA SOARES
#3 INGRIDD SOUSA