It has been an unforgettable absolute division in Abu Dhabi. With 75 athletes signed up, and 20K-dollar incentive – an unprecedented sum in Jiu-Jitsu announced in the days leading up to the Abu Dhabi World Pro 2010 (it used to be 12,000 dollars) –, excitement was guaranteed from the start, in the emirate’s tennis stadium. It has been a Jiu-Jitsu spectacle, thanks to appearances from Alexandre Souza, Alexandro Ceconi, André Galvão, Braulio Estima, Bruno Frazatto, Claudio Calasans, Clark Gracie, Delson Pé de Chumbo, Gabriel Vella, Guilherme Mendes, Gustavo Campos, Luiz Big Mac, Marcello Salazar, Marcus Bochecha, Marko Helen, Rafael Mendes, Ricardo Demente, Romulo Barral and many others.
In the end, the usual names made it through – they are “usual” because of the the four’s extreme level of technique, tactics and competition experience.
Absolute – Semifinal 1: Gabriel vs Braulio Estima
It was competition miles that, for example, carried Gabriel Vella through to the semifinals, after stifling the game of sensation Ricardo “Demente” Abreu. Vella put together a fight strategy based on the advice of Rafael “Gordinho” Correa, and played on top, earning two advantages by making it to the side, to one scored at the very end when Demente exploded to pass. Twas one of the best matches of the day – and there will be a rematch in the under 92kg final.
Earlier, the Sao Paulo-native Ryan Gracie representative would beat two opponents: he tapped out American purple belt Jim Alers, who was overjoyed to have scored 2 points on the unconcerned Vella, and the scrawny Guilherme Mendes, by two advantages.
Vella’s opponent in the final is a friend and favorite of Sheikh Tanhoon, Braulio “Carcara” Estima. After winning the ADCC no-gi absolute title, Braulio arrived at the capital of the Emirates in high esteem and had two rolls with the brother of Sheikh Mohamad bin Zayed, supreme commander of the Armed Forces and sponsor of Jiu-Jitsu in the country’s schools. Carcara had a perhaps even more sublime campaign than Vella: he choked out giant Canadian Karim Biron at 2:10 min, rallied back against Guto Campos (again finished with a triangle, as he did at weight) and won a great match against Alexandro Ceconi, by 10 to 2, ending the round-of-eight match with a triangle in place. In the quarters, he had the help of black belt teammate Jose “Cientist” Junior, a Gracie Barra representative teaching in the Emirates, who made way for Carcara.
Absolute – Semifinal 2: Claudio Calasans vs Alexandre Souza
Claudio Calasans Jr made it to the semifinals yet again, as he did at the 2009 Worlds, on a roll with armbar and wrist lock attacks. “Junior” submitted Australia’s Alexander Chew, took American Josh Griffiths’s back and dispatched Kiwi Alexander Geoffrey in 52 seconds, with an armbar, earning his spot in the semifinals with teammate (and roommate) Rafael mendes, who dazzled the crowd too. Easy bracket for Atos, no? Not at all, Claudio initially had Rodolfo Vieira (injured) in the bracket, and Romulo Barral, Big Mac, and Marcus Bochecha. The three fell along the way, each losing to the other.
Alexandre Souza fought at ultra heavyweight and didn’t make it to the final, but the “training session” with the big guys on day one made up for the absolute. The Santa Catarina native had four great matches and went through deservedly, in the first choking out gigantic purple belt form France Julian Genin, then the giant Marcio Mendes, and secured his place in the quarters with a sweet armbar from the guard on Fedor’s sambo slayer, Bulgaria’s Blagoy Ivanov. In the quarters, Souza and Andre Galvao had a classic battle, with one sweep each. In the end, Souza won by an advantage point from another sweep, while Andre cried foul for not having been awarded an advantage for a previous kneebar attempt, and was disqualified after time had run out. But it was a great bout. “It was the first championship where I exit without any medal at all,” smiled a forlorn Galvao afterwards.
Female under 63kg – Luanna Alzuguir vs Beatriz Mesquita
The classic everyone wanted to see (again) in Abu Dhabi. Luanna started out submitting Sweden’s Ida Hansson from the back, dispatched Australia’s Lisa Marie and went past Brazil’s Juliana Nogueira. As for Bia, she eliminated Canada’s Sheila Bird, choked out South African Jessica Hill and choked Hillary Williams – at the exact moment Sheikh Mohamad arrived at the stadium.
Female over 63kg – Gabrielle Garcia vs Luzia Fernandes
Gabrielle Garcia started the championship against weight and absolute world champion Lana Stefanac. Bad attitude from both, but the war was worth the price of the ticket and brought the crowd to its feet. Gabi put the pressure on trying for the takedown, made Lana rush to pull guard, and from there secured victory with an advantage from a takedown and another from half guard. Next, Gabi caught Cassuza Fornari’s arm with an americana in the first minute.
Luzia oozed her usual coolness, dispatching Tanino Kaori and beating local favorite Rosangela “Zanza” Conceicao by advantages.