“I went through stormy seas in this championship! See to it you write something nice about me there,” joked Gabi Garcia, after winning the World Pro last the week before last in Abu Dhabi. Request made, request accepted, and GRACIEMAG.com went further: it caught up with the Alliance champions upon arrival in São Paulo, after the conquest.
Gabi, big winner of the over 63 kg division, didn’t have it easy: She came up against world absolute champion Lana Stefanac in her very first match, and managed a pretty victory without any scares, putting the pressure on from the top and winning on advantages. Then she caught Brazilian living in Abu Dhabi Cassuza Formari in an americana lock and, in the final, won the showdown with a game Luzia Fernandes (Gracie Barra), after taking the back.
In the lightweight division, the path to the title was nearly as rocky. Luanna Alzuguir, like her friend, also came into the tournament straight out of an impeccable Pan performance in California, and aside from the jetlag and fatigue, she was ready.
Luanna submitted Sweden’s Ida Hansson from behind, dispatched Australia’s Lisa Marie and outpointed Juliana Nogueira. At the other end of the bracket, Bia Mesquita had her work cut out for her against tough Canadian Sheila Bird but won, to then put South Africa’s Jessica Hill to sleep, and in the semifinal caught Hillary Williams in a choke from the back, in a match set apart by one detail: it was precisely the moment Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, supreme commander of Abu Dhabi’s armed forces and heir to the throne, arrived to watch the championship, that Friday evening.
In Saturday’s grand finale, Luanna and Bia opened the final day of the event, and a spectator offered his analysis: “The one to pull guard first wins.” And that’s just how it played out: “We’re good guard players. It truly was a good analysis,” said Luanna, who tried for an omoplata and won by referee decision, after a 0 to 0 draw on the scorecards.
“I noticed when we fought in the trials that it’s hard to come back on the score with six-minute match durations. So the plan was to not lose by any means,” said the Gurgel student, who in the dynamic duo is affectionately called Brain – and like the cartoon character is ready to dominate the world, or the Worlds in June.
Do they or don’t they deserve a homecoming of heroines?