JUNE 06, 2021, BRUSQUE, BRAZIL. Throughout the weekend this Santa Catarina town was labeled as the Capital Of Jiu-Jitsu. A momentary title awarded due to it hosting one of the biggest grappling events of the year, the AJP Tour’s South American Continental Pro tournament, a show that captured the interest of 1000s of our sport’s fans and competitors.
The Continental Pro’s cash incentives led armies of grapplers from up and down the country to Brusque for the weekend, including most of the sport’s top athletes who reside in Brazil. The brackets were stacked across the board, including in the adult black belt division which saw well over 200 matches spread across its weight classes, an illustration of what we – at BJJ Heroes – have been saying for a while: gi jiu-jitsu is in fantastic health despited being fairly unsupported by the North American pro-grappling scene, and it has a bright future ahead.
With fast-paced action across all levels, there were a handful of surprises emerging from this tournament, particularly at the adult black belt level. Possibly too many to write about in one single report, but we will most certainly try. So without further ado:
YARA SOARES BREAKS GABRIELI PESSANHA’S UNBEATEN RECORD
Two icons of the super-heavyweight division Gabrieli Pessanha and Yara Soares had met 6 times in the past couple of years, not once had Soares been able to taste victory over the unbeaten InFight prospect. Despite the adversity, Yara never gave up. Her unbreakable spirit has reaped the rewards this afternoon.
Soares’ first losses to Pessanha as a black belt came down to 3 points difference. She returned to the gym, worked harder, and narrowed that difference to a single point disadvantage. Then she took Gabrieli to a technical draw (in their last match), and finally, today, the Dream Art prospect was able to beat the only competitor to whom she had lost as a black belt, taking the win via 4×2 pts. On her way to the final with Gabrieli, Soares beat Adriane Alves (submission) and the rising star of Guigo JJ, Ingridd Alves via 2×0. A very impressive performance.
WELCOME TO THE MEYRAM “THE MACHINE” MAQUINE SHOW!
in a stacked 62-kilo division it was 20YO black belt Meyram Maquine, of Guigo JJ, who took home the gold medal in a superb performance. Meyram has been gaining a reputation for being one of the most aggressive and crowd-pleasing athletes in the sport today, traits the undefeated prospect vowed to maintain once again this weekend. On his way to the podium, Maquine took out two IBJJF world medalists (Hiago George and Cleber Sousa), making it look easy against both talented and gritty veterans, while also becoming only the second person to submit Hiago in his 6 year-long career as a top tier black belt.
Meyram brought forth a blitz-style guard passing, always hunting for the back and looking to snatch submissions from scrambles, taking two submissions in 3 matches.
LUCAS GUALBERTO CONQUERS 77KG GOLD BUT LOSES UNBEATEN RECORD TO FABRICIO ANDREY
One of the rising stars of the middleweight division, Lucas Gualberto (Dream Art) arrived at the South Continental Pro with an unbeaten record of 16-0 as a black belt. During the tournament, the Piauí native managed to increase that record to 24-0 (6 matches won in his weight class and 2 in the open weight), and conquer another gold medal in his weight class. Lucas’s incredible record finally succumbed in the under 77-kilogram open weight class – the AJP separates the absolute in two categories, the under 77 and under 120KGs athletes – by the narrowest of margins with 3×2 on the scoreboard.
Still in the 77KG division, one of the breakthroughs of this weight class was the Ribeiro Brothers representative, Pedro Maia. Pedro looked very impressive in his wins over veterans of the sport such as Natan Chueng, Higor Lima, Gabriel Rollo, and Leandro Souza, showing great composure even though he is a relative newcomer. Maia was later defeated by Lucas Gualberto via referee decision (final), nevertheless, a name to keep in mind for the future.
The man who defeated Gualberto in the open-weight was none other than featherweight Fabricio Andrey, who is also a member of Dream Art. Andrey looked very impressive in his own weight class, taking home a gold medal after beating Kennedy Silva, Guilherme Santos, Fernando Favari, Diego Pato, and Murilo Amaral. In the open weight class Andrey beat Pato once again, Luan Carvalho, and Lucas Gualberto. What a weekend for Manaus’ “Hokage”, who took home a 40k cash prize for his win in the open-weight.
YATAN BUENO MAKES A BIG STATEMENT AT ULTRA-HEAVYWEIGHT
The latest addition to the Dream Art Project squad, Yatan Bueno, might just be ramping up towards jiu-jitsu stardom. The King Of The Scissor Choke added another Quebra Nozes submission to the count, he who had 2 finishes overall, in his 5 matches this weekend (1 in open weight).
The ultra-heavyweights were one of the toughest divisions on the event, featuring athletes such as Pedro Alex and Wallace Costa of GFT; Anderson Munis and Igor Schneider of Dream Art; Felipe Bezerra of Checkmat; Harryson Pereira of Ataque Duplo, and more, but it, in the end, it was the Fernando Boi black belt who came on top.
To conquer his gold medal, Yatan beat André Rudolfo (scissor choke), Andrey Cerqueira (Estima lock), Wallace Costa (1×0), Felipe Bezerra (5×5 – the last athlete to score wins the match in case of draw according to AJP rules).
Checkmat’s Felipe Bezerra, who earned a silver medal, was equally impressive at the event. A very well-known judoka, who competes mainly in Brazil’s judo circuit, Bezerra tested his skills against the cream of the crop in Brazil’s jiu-jitsu, taking out two of the country’s biggest names in Igor Schneider and Anderson Munis via points.
49KG ADULT FEMALE BROWN + BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: No final as both semi-finalists on Bracket A were DQ’ed
#1 Brenda Larissa (Alliance)
#3 Jessica Dantas (CTA)
62KG ADULT FEMALE BROWN + BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Bia Mesquita DEF. Julia Alves via 1×0
#1 Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaitá)
#2 Julia Alves (GFT)
#3 Margot Cicareli (Unity)
70KG ADULT FEMALE BROWN + BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Thamara Ferreira DEF. Izadora Cristina via DQ
#1 Thamara Ferreira (Guigo)
#2 Izadora Cristina (Dream Art)
#3 Ana Brandao (Vita JJ)
56KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Oziel Carvalho DEF. Italo Frota via 1×0
#1 Oziel Carvalho (FP Team)
#2 Italo Frota (Karkara JJ)
#3 Yuri Hendrex (Cicero Costha)
69KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Fabricio Andrey DEF. Murilo Amaral via 10×4
77KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Lucas Gualberto DEF. Pedro Maia via decision (0x0 pts)
85KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Alex Munis DEF. Matheus Godoy via 1×0
94KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Erich Munis DEF. Patrick Gaudio via 6×4
(This was a friendly match between two teammates)
120KG ADULT BLACK BELT DIVISION
Final: Yatan Bueno DEF. Felipe Bezerra via 5×5 (last one to score wins)
-120KG ABSOLUTE (HEAVYWEIGHT ABSOLUTE)
Final: Patrick Gaudio DEF. Erich Munis via 6×4
(This was a friendly match between two teammates)