NOVEMBER 19, 2021, ABU DHABI’S JIU-JITSU ARENA. Today was the last on the schedule of the 2021 Abu Dhabi World Pro, a tournament organized by the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP) federation. This was the second World Championship event promoted by the AJP this year, a unique circumstance caused by the cancelation of the event back in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led the head figures of this governing body to launch two seasons in the same year (2020-2021 & 2021). Below is the BJJ Heroes report on the action at the adult black belt level.
MALE 56KG DIVISION, BLACK BELT DEBUT TAKES GOLD
A fun weight class to follow, the rooster weights had in Jonas Andrade and Nathannael Fernandes this year’s foremost grapplers who comptd for the gold medal in two backward and forwards matches. During the group stages of the tournament, Cicero Costha’s Andrade came on top against Fernandes with a beautiful triangle choke. Nevertheless, the young student of Melqui Galvão managed to recompose in the matches that followed, advancing to the semi-finals and then to the final where he had a chance to run it back against Andrade. Armed with a better strategy, Fernandes used the top position to take home the win via points.
– Jonas Andrade def. Marko Oikarainen via straight ankle lock
– Nathannael Fernandes def. Hakuto Yamamoto via 1×0
– Nathannael Fernandes def. Jonas Andrade via 9×6
– Hakuto Yamamoto def. Marko Oikarainen via submission
MALE 62KG DIVISION, ANOTHER STAR EMERGES FROM THE MELQUI GALVÂO CAMP
The duels between students of Cicero Costha and Melqui Galvão are becoming somewhat of a trend in modern-day jiu-jitsu, given how dominant these two camps have been as of late, this 62-kilogram division was expected to be no different. After a beautiful performance at the Brazilian Qualifiers, Diogo Reis came in to the World Pro as the odds-on favorite to conquer the Abu Dhabi World Pro with the only real threat to his gold medal aspirations being Cicero Costha’s Hiago George. The semi-finals match between these two competitors was a close war, but Reis came out on top, leaving the door open for his title.
– Diogo Reis def. Giorgi Razmadze via 7×3
– Hiago George def. Abdulla Munfaredi via katagatame
MALE 69KG DIVISION, LAVASELLI TAKES SECOND GOLD!
After conquering his first black belt Abu Dhabi World Pro title at 77-kilos earlier this year, Pablo Lavaselli returned ready to face a new challenge, the 69kg weight class. It does appear as if this is the perfect ruleset for the technical Argentinian as he made it look easy out there this week, beating the division’s favorite, Israel Sousa in the final by two points. Pablo also took out strong names of the sport such as Bilal Benmahammmed and Youngseung Cho on his run towards the final where he became the first Argentinian to conquer two AJP World Pro titles at black belt.
– Fabricio Andrey def. Youngseung Cho via 5×1
MALE 77KG DIVISION, YOUNGEST CHAMP IN HISTORY
At 18 years of age, not only is Micael Galvão the youngest athlete to ever compete in the AJP World Pro at the male black belt level, but he is now also the youngest to ever win the event. Overall, throughout the 3 days of the event, Mica Galvão had 6 matches and 5 quick submissions. These included finishes over some of the sport’s foremost lightweights, big names such as Levi Jones-Levi (Australia), Julios dos Anjos (Brazil), and Espen Mathiesen (Norway). What a performance by Mica, we can’t wait to see him at the IBJJF World Championships next month, where he will likely have steeper opposition.
MALE 85KG DIVISION, LANGAKER CONTROVERSY & EASY WORK FOR BAHIENSE
Many expected to see another final between Norway’s Tommy Langaker and Brazil’s Isaque Bahiense. That, however, did not materialize due to a confusing exchange in Langaker’s semi-final against William Dias (Brazilian who adopted Australian citizenship).
Winning by two points with less than a minute to go in his match with William, Tommy was forced to move outside of the mat to defend against a back attack. when the match returned to the center, it appeared as though the referees had awarded 3 points to his opponent. Confused with the scoreboard, Tommy argued with the referee for a few seconds and was subsequentially disqualified.
On the other side of the bracket, Isaque Bahiense dominated on his way to the final. The Dream Art head coach tends to thread on the stalling line on occasion but that wasn’t necessarily the case here. Isaque appeared looser than he had in the Brazilian Qualifiers, willing to put points on the scoreboard and event taking a submission win via clock choke.
– Isaque Bahiense def. William Dias 7×0
MALE 94KG DIVISION, ERICH MUNICH TAKES HIS FIRST WORLD TITLE
One of the most promising grapplers on the pro-circuit is Erich Munis, the youngest of the famous Munis Bros. Still in the infancy of his career, Erich showed tremendous maturity throughout the event against big players. Never exposing himself too much, one by one, Erich took control of the division, beating the former champ Adam Wardzinski in the final.
– Matheus Felipe def. Arsen Shapiev via 4×0
MALE 120KG DIVISION, THE BERG SHOW
The hardest part of the 120-kilogram division was, no doubt, the Brazilian Qualifiers. With that out of the way, the only man standing in the way of GF Team’s Gutemberg Pereira was Fight Sport’s own Roosevelt Sousa. The two Brazilians, who were the heavy favorites to take home the gold medal, met in the semi-finals. Although both are widely recognized as among the most exciting super-heavyweights in the sport, their clash was somewhat uneventful with an end score of 2×1 for “Berg”. Both athletes would go on to dominate their subsequent matches and earn their place on the podium.
– Gutemberg Pereira def. Walter Santos via 15×0
– Roosevelt Sousa def. Paulo Brasil via 2×1
FEMALE 49KG DIVISION, BRENDA BECOMES FIRST TWO HOLD TWO WORLD TITLES IN ONE YEAR
As mentioned in our first paragraph, this was an unlikely year for the AJP federation. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organization to cancel its 2020 Abu Dhabi World Pro, the governing body opted to launch two world championships events in one year. One relating to the 2020-2021 season (which took place last April) and another relating to a shorter 2021 season – the one we saw this week. The existence of two Abu Dhabi World Pro opened up a chance for any of April’s champions to become a double champ in one year for the first time since the inception of the AJP, an opportunity taken by Melqui Galvão’s pupil, Brenda Larissa.
Brenda has proven time and time again that she is in the top 3 of this weight class, holding two wins over the unofficial #1 ranked Mayssa Bastos and many important medals in the sport. At the World Pro this week, Brenda dominated the division once again.
– Brenda Larissa def. Eliana Carauni via decision
– Serena Gabrielli def. Naiomi Matthews via 5×4
FEMALE 55KG DIVISION, ANNA AVENGES LOSS TO BASÍLIO
During her post-fight interview at BJJ Stars earlier this year, Dream Art representative Anna Rodrigues commented that her heart was no longer in jiu-jitsu, hinting at a possible career shift in the near future. This did not translate on the mats where the Niterói (Brazil) native looked as dominant as ever, beating her BJJ foe, Bianca Basílio.
Back in April this year, Rodrigues had lost her chance to win the AJP World Pro tournament to Bianca Basílio by referee decision, but this time around Anna appeared to come in more focussed than ever, taking a win over the reigning champ by 4×3 after taking out rising Portuguese prospect in the quarter-finals, Rafaela Rosa by points.
– Anna Rodrigues def. Rose El Sharouni via 4×2
– Bianca Basilio def. Liisi Vaht via armbar
FEMALE 62KG DIVISION, THE GOAT CONQUERS ANOTHER WORLD TITLE
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in our sport with a career as dominant as Bia Mesquita’s. This weekend the multiple-time IBJJF, ADCC, and AJP world champion did it again AND looked as dominant as she’s ever been. Working mainly from her famously deadly closed guard, Beatriz came out of the event with 4 matches and 4 submissions against some of the top female lightweights in the world.
– Julia Alves def. Maja Povsnar via 2×1
FEMALE 70KG DIVISION, ALVES SETTLES GLORIOUS YEAR WITH ANOTHER WIN
Flying under the radar of mainstream media is Ingridd Alves of Guigo Jiu-Jitsu. The Teresina native had a fantastic 2021 with 35-wins and only 6-losses thus far and took another gold medal this week in her biggest tournament this year.
– Magdalena Loska def. Rana Qubbaj via 3×0
– Ingridd Alves def. Larissa Dias via 1×0
– Ingridd Alves def. Magdalena Loska via 5×2
– Larissa Dias def. B. Battsogt via RNC
FEMALE 95KG DIVISION, PESSANHA IS BACK!
2021 has not been an easy year for Rio de Janeiro’s Gabrieli Pessanha. After reigning undefeated as a black belt for 2 years, the InFight Team talent suffered 5 hard losses to Tayane Porfirio (1-loss) and Yara Soares (4-losses) over the past 11 months, appearing to be on a downwards path in her career. Luckily for Pessanha and her fans, that trajectory appears to be finally over as Gabrieli took out both Porfirio (4×3 pts) and Soares (3×2 pts) in one single tournament, a very hard task, solely at the grasp of very select and special group of athletes.
5 person division was decided via “Round-Robin”, therefore no finals or THIRD-PLACE MATCH.