After the champions had been defined for each weight division this Sunday in Helsinki, it was time for the absolute.
With little to no time to rest between matches, and with some athletes having just ended their weight division campaigns, the absolute division was a spectacle. Names like Marcus Buchecha, Xande Ribeiro, Celsinho Venícius, Mahamed Ali, Dillon Danis and Chael Sonnen were in the running, but none shone brighter than Felipe Preguiça.
Preguiça fought four times, following the two fights he had done earlier in the 99kg division. He beat Celsinho Venícius and Victor Honório in his first and second match to reach a semifinal match opposite over-99kg champion Marcus Buchecha.
Buchecha, the favorite, was visibly tired and couldn’t stop Preguiça reaching his back, whence Preguiça sank a rear naked choke 6’44” in.
The other bracket saw Gordon Ryan advance inexorably. The American finished Roberto Cyborg via heel hook, then Craig Jones via kata-gatame and Mahamed Aly via leg lock.
In the final, Felipe had to defend against some foot attacks by Ryan, a specialist. In one instance of doing this, Preguiça used his opponent’s position to slide to the back. From there, Preguiça worked to finish, but, unable to sink the RNC, he wound up winning 6-0 thanks to the hooks from the back.
This means Preguiça is the man who will try to put a stop to André Galvão’s superfight winning streak in 2019 — we can’t wait.
Renzo Gracie and Chael Sonnen win superfights
Besides the finals and the absolute contests, two veterans’ superfights were held today. In the first one, Renzo Gracie squared off against Sanae Kikuta in a repeat of their grueling 1998 encounter.
Renzo shot for takedowns while Kikuta seemed intent on exploiting mistakes. The fight played out almost entirely on the feet, with grip-trading as the fighters sought a way in. When all was said and done, Renzo had been declared the winner by 1-0 in penalties
The following superfight pitted Leozinho Vieira against Chael Sonnen. Confident in his guard, Leo played on his back as Sonnen made guard-passing attempts. The fight proceeded this way throughout both overtime periods, and Chael Sonnen was deemed the winner by decision.