NOVEMBER 20, 2022. This past Friday the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) launched another edition of the promotion’s Grand Prix show, an event set to decide the show’s open-weight champion.
The Absolute GP brought forth 8 of the top athletes in the sport today, which included a few faces that don’t often compete in the United States, namely Gabriel Henrique Oliveira and Rider Zuchi. Two competitors that have been putting on fantastic performances in Brazil, away from the US spotlight.
Accompanying some of this new generation of Brazil was the USA’s own new generation, represented by Elder Cruz, and household names of the sport like veterans Kaynan Duarte, Cyborg, and Gutemberg Pereira. The event also featured a handful of high-level superfights for the fans.
The super fight portion of the event produced quite a few nice moments, with the match between Dudu Grazotto and Zach Kaina, likely, taking the spotlight and the Match Of The Night award. These two brown belts left it all on the line. Despite the final scoreboard’s slim numbers, these were not a realistic reflection of what took place on the mats. These two athletes had a hard-fought war and we are very hopeful to see them back on the mats soon.
Another athlete very worthy of a positive reference was Jhonatha Alves. During the last IBJJF GP, we had some criticism regarding the tactical performance presented by the AOJ star, but that was all in the past. This weekend this young man came in for his match against Roosevelt Sousa, ready for war. Sousa outweighed Alves by nearly 100 lbs (!) but, rest assured, this was a very competitive match where both athletes fought to the best of their abilities and provided solid entertainment for the fans.
– Eduardo Granzotto def. Zach Kaina via 3×1 adv, 0x0 pts
– Jessa Khan def. Kaori Hernandez via violin armlock
Although the final winner here was Kaynan Duarte, the man of the hour and the person we would most like to watch back on the mats ASAP was, without a doubt, Gutemberg Pereira. GF Team’s frontman has a super fun style to watch and proved it once again this weekend. Efficient, aggressive, and submission-oriented, Berg has the perfect fit for professional events such as these GPs, which are geared to attract more eyeballs to the sport.
On the other side of the spectrum was the tournament champion Kaynan Duarte. Duarte has always been a counter grappler, a style that can be hard to watch at times, despite his immense potential and accolades. From a sporting aspect, Kaynan is, undoubtedly, one of the Pound-4-Pound greatest athletes in the sport, from a spectator standpoint, he can be hard to watch.
In the final, for example, we saw Kaynan have two (2) offense attempts in the whole 10 minutes of the match, relying solely on Gutemberg’s willingness to engage to make this anywhere close to an interesting clash to follow. The two offensive maneuvers by Duarte were a guard-pull to sweep 4 minutes into the match, and a guard-pass attempt off of Pereira’s sweep attempt (so, in reality, a counterattack and not truly Kaynan’s own attack). To clarify, we understand the athlete is there to win, and he is under no obligation to do anything but that, the onus is on the referees to not allow stalling to occur. If entertainment is what we aspire to get from these shows, we need better/braver referees.
– Kaynan Duarte def. Roberto Abreu via 2×0