The third day of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship was a jam-packed day that decided a lot for many athletes. From the start at 9 a.m., the purple belt adult males entered the mats to make them come alive. From first match losses to submission wins to the finals, there was no destiny involved– only hard work prevailing here in Abu Dhabi.
The final divisions began at 1:30 p.m. starting with the master/senior male brown/black divisions moving to purple adult male, brown adult male, purple/brown/black female and finally black adult male.
The six minute matches were set for all divisions no matter the age, rank or gender, therefore pushing the athletes to finish their fights. Because there isn’t a lot of time and the referees will give penalties rather freely for stalling, the action is always in large demand. As much as it is a competition, it’s also a show. Here in Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu is a national sport so it is broadcasted on television and followed with coverage and lots of interest.
The purple belt and brown belt adult matches brought the excitement and when a leader of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu team Faisal Al Ketbi fought Luke Costello, the crowd went wild as he won by points. Submissions came from the back mostly, by Gianni Grippo in the -70kg division and the -88kg division by Keenan Cornelius but even the matches that were determined by points were enough action to call it a show.
The females came with some nice surprises as Beatriz Mesquita conquered Luanna Alzugiur, a native to the WPJJC top podium spot, when she swept her twice. Caroline de Lazzer cried when she won Fernanda Mazzelli on points as this win was a huge accomplishment for her. Gabrielle Garcia was able to submit Tammy Griego before time ran out with a choke to win her fourth title at the World Pro and Michelle Nicolini surprised the crowd when we swept Mackenzie Dern at the very last minute after being down by advantages.
The black belts were enticing because of some new faces in the finals. The -64kg division started it off right with Thiago Marques defeating Samuel Hertzog with a quick triangle choke. From Bonsai, Satoshi’s brother Marcos Yoshi Souza was able to gather two points from catching the leg as Victor Estima jumped guard then avoiding all of Estima’s many submission attempts from armbars to omoplatas to triangles.
Two matches that we’ve seen many times before came in the -70kg and -76kg divisions as both were determined by points or advantages. Augusto Tanquinho Mendes won Rubens Charles Maciel with a sweep and then Leandro Lo won over Lucas Lepri by an advantage due to a guard pass attempt deemed worthy of such.
In an unfortunate event, Romulo Barral quit his match against Andre Galvao early on after pulling a hamstring. Galvao jumped guard then immediately swept with a waiter sweep, putting Barral’s leg in great danger and ultimately causing him to forfeit the gold. Rodolfo Vieira defeated his opponent Pedro Peres in the -94kg division with some textbook moves by passing the guard, taking the back and choking with the lapels. Antonio Braga Neto pushed the pace of his -100kg division fight with a sweep and multiple attempts of passes and getting into mount, finishing 2-0 against Jose Junior.
The final match of the day left two people who were very unlikely to ever fight- but they did. Rodrigo Cavaca is the professor of Marcus Buchecha Almeida and they met in the +100kg division final and fought instead of closing out. Cavaca won the match 7-2 in a friendly yet competitive roll. Here’s what Buchecha had to say about it:
“For us it was like a dream come true to get to the finals together because we have dreamt about it since 2010 when I got my black belt. We never close out any tournaments so we’re happy that we have reached that goal. And we are happy to do a fight because we don’t like close outs– that’s why we decided to fight. We hope to do the same thing in the finals of the open weight tomorrow.
It wasn’t awkward because I have been training with him since 2004. This was just like a normal day in the academy, a tough roll with my master. It’s always a pleasure to roll with him because he taught me everything that i know in Jiu-Jitsu.
I would like to say thank you to my father because he was the most important person for keeping me in Jiu-Jitus and because of him, Cavaca came to Abu Dhabi where we we’re able to accomplish this goal instead of flying to Pan Ams [where he was going to travel instead of Abu Dhabi].”
Full results from day 3: