MARCH 09, 2019, HACKNEY, LONDON, England just witnessed the last installment of the United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) Grand Slam Tour, an event that precedes the final tournament of the season, the Abu Dhabi World Pro – which takes place in April this year.
As per usual, the Grand Slam called upon some of the bigger names of the adult black belt circuit. This was particularly evident in the 62, 69 and 77-kilogram weight classes, where we witnessed an outstanding turnout, a mix of established players and the rising stars from the grappling world.
Because history is not written merely by the gold medalist, we would like to reference two warriors who missed the #1 position but showed their warrior spirit and high-level technical ability on the mats. One of those was certainly Tiago Bravo, the veteran black belt who has been coaching in the UAE for the past few years. Bravo has had a tremendous year competing in the UAEJJF tournament circuit, having referenced in the past his intent with this endeavor: “to prove to his students the mindset of a jiu-jitsu competitor“; and boy did he do that today!
During a tough battle in the semi-finals against Isaac Doederlein (USA), Bravo was forced to tap to a very tight ankle lock. He was carried out of the mat visibly diminished, but returned for the repechage rounds (limping), still managing to win one match via submission, losing the 3rd place to João Paulo Neto by an advantage. A brave, brave performance by Bravo.
Another huge performance today came by way of the rising Portuguese black belt, Pedro Ramalho – also known as Paquito. Famous for his spider-guard game, Paquito proved to be much more versatile than what he has been given credit for in the past. His game was aggressive from top to bottom, submitting one of the best middleweights and dominating two others on his way to a 3rd place medal, one that could have easily been gold had things gone in his favor in the semi-finals.
Also on the medal column, Isaac Doederlein, the Rubens Charles student looked outstanding at the Copper Box Arena. Very pleasant game, forward moving and tactical at the same time, always with the submission on his mind. In the final, against Paulo Miyao he had two tight kneebars that only Miyao would not have tapped to.
On the champions column, special mention to Gabriel Sousa and his enormous performance in London. The ZR Team standout took out, arguably, the 3 biggest names on the light-featherweight division today. Namely João Miyao (points), Cleber “Clandestino” (submission) and Hiago George (penalty). This kid has only recently arrived on the black belt stage and is already proven to be one of the biggest threats on the division. Outstanding performance, world championship quality performance.
On the female division, no bracket was as stacked with talent as the 62 kg mixed brown and black belt weight class, and once again Ffion Davis, the Welsh “Welsh Dragon” showed her fiery breath, coming out on top. Crushing pressure passing, aggressive guard and all you need to see in a professional grappler. She will be competing again next weekend at Polaris 9 and we cannot wait for that to happen. Definitely one of the most entertaining jiu-jitsu fighters out there today.
PODIUM + FINALS RESULTS
Adult Male, Black – 56KG
Carlos Alberto Oliveira def. Nobuhiro Sawada by 4×0 pts
1. Carlos Oliveira
2. Nobuhiro Sawada
3. Frederico Guimarães
Adult Female, Brown/Black – 49KG
Mayssa Bastos def. Julia Pareja by submission
1. Mayssa Bastos (BRA)
2. Julia Pareja (BRA)
3. Serena Gabrielli (ITA)
Adult Female, Brown/Black – 55KG
Ana Rodrigues def. Rose El Sharouni by submission
1. Ana Rodrigues (BRA)
2. Rose El Sharouni (FRA)
3. Gabriela Fechter (BRA)
Adult Female, Brown/Black – 62KG
Ffion Davies def. Larissa Paes by 11×2
Adult Female, Brown/Black – 70KG
Thamara Ferreira def. Samatha Cook by footlock
1. Thamara Ferreira (BRA)
2. Samatha Cook (ENG)
3. Vedha Toscano (USA)
Adult Female, Brown/Black – 90KG
Gabrieli Peçanha def. Marta Szarecka by choke from the back
1. Gabrieli Peçanha (BRA)
2. Marta Szarecka (POL)
3. Claire France (FRA)