The third installment of the Jiu-Jitsu Copa America offered up heaps of good matches for the Tijuca neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro last Saturday, December 12. The event had a brotherly feel to it, with popular rapper MC Akira announcing the fighters in the main events. Beyond the white to brown belt and black belt master matches, there was also a supermatch between Rio International Open finalist Thiago “Barata” Ferreira and Luis Fernando “Pimpolho”.
In a tight and technical dispute, “Barata” (Abi-Rihan) managed to score three advantage points with his attempts at passing “Pimpolho’s” (Nova União) elastic guard, yielding him R$200, a gift pack, trophy and gi, as well as R$ 50 to blow at popular night club Six.
At brown belt, Leonardo Sagioro (BTT), who had four matches in the under 76kg division, stood out and took the prizes. Another who kept up his tradition of participating was Gustavo Granha (Carlson Gracie), winner for the third year in a row of the medium heavyweight master black belt division. Among the veterans, the return of Vinicius Cruz (Carlson Gracie) to the mat was well worth it. The fighter, who was world champion as a brown belt roosterweight, took first place in the middleweight black belt master category.
And the kids put on a show of their own, with one in particular promising to give much to talk about in the years to come. At only 14 years of age, Marcio André (Nova União) won five matches – four by finish – and took the adult light featherweight blue belt division.
“I’m really happy about this installment of Copa America. 630 athletes showed up, a good number of participants since we are already at the end of the year and between so many competitions. It was also the most organized installment, keeping to the timetable perfectly. We even wrapped up the event before we expected to. Copa has now become a reference on the calendar,” celebrates organizer Raphael Abi-Rihan.