The final stop on the IBJJF’s European competition schedule for 2014 was also their first trip to Madrid, and it did not disappoint. The Pabellón Deportivo Europa was packed with competitors and supporters, and with a match timetable that ran consistently from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., there was almost a surplus of fantastic matches to watch and stories to be told that could fill ten articles. For now, we shall have to limit ourselves to the black belt adult results, starting with the ladies’ results.
Seven-time world champion Michelle Nicolini of Checkmat team breezed into town as part of her international lifestyle and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself during her match with Maria Gonzalez of Climent Club. A smile barely left her face as she worked a combination of her famous guard play alongside a dominant top game. Maria was overmatched but gave it her best – however, it was only a matter of time. A little more than halfway through the contest, Michelle was able to reach the mount, locking in an armbar and forcing the tap to become the first ever Madrid International Open female black belt champion. Unfortunately, she and her opponent decided not to repeat their match in the absolute, so this remained the only female contest, but it is always refreshing to see a world class competitor still taking part in the smaller competitions and it brought a greater sense of occasion to an already bustling competition.
To begin the male divisions – the smallest competitor, roosterweight Andrea Verdemare of Cyclone JJ and the largest, ultra-heavyweight Alan Vitor Ferreira of De La Riva JJ were both alone in their divisions but were both more than ready to contest the open class and its opposing challenges and signed up for the absolute as soon as they were able.
Glauco Almeida of Zenith BJJ was the champion of the light-featherweight division, first defeating Jorge Elias of Alliance by disqualification before submitting Spain’s Baruc Barrios with a loop choke early in the final match. Baruc had also defeated Jorge Elias to earn his spot in the final, securing the mount in the final 30 seconds to take the win in a match where he had trailed by a sweep throughout.
Italy’s Simone Franceschini overcame Spanish local talent Sergio Calderon in the featherweight division. Although the match was hard fought and competitive, Simone was able to secure victory by 2 points and take the title in the category.
The lightweight final saw Roger Gracie student Oliver Geddes facing Calasans student and Spanish local Alex Cabanes. Oliver opened the match by attempting to pull guard, a move that Alex countered by acrobatically leaping over the legs and landing directly in the mount position. Although Oliver would eventually work his way back to a guard, he was unable to bridge the gap. An exchange of sweeps from the 50/50 guard ended up with Oliver on top and trailing by 6 points to 4 as time ran out, and Alex Cabanes took his first black belt title in the gi in excellent style.
Regular divisional rivals Luca Anacoreta of Aeterna JJ and Matthias Ribeiro of Matthias Ribeiro JJ met once again in the final of the middleweight division. This time, Luca would be victorious by 9 points to 6, after finishing his previous opponent with a reverse triangle to earn his spot in the final. These two competitors will surely meet again at further European tournaments to continue their back and forth battle.
Swiss-based Ricardo ‘Pezao’ Oliveira of Alliance International took the gold in the medium heavyweight division. He beat out Julien da Silva of Academie Pythagore and Cleiton Novas Pinheiro of Fight Club to claim the top spot on the podium.
At heavyweight, the always well-supported Marcelo Bernardo of Brazilian Power Team clashed with Thomas Johannessen of Frontline Academy in the only match of their bracket. In a close match with a significant amount of time spent trading leg locks in the 50/50 guard, Marcelo was able to emerge victorious on advantages, with one sweep scored for each fighter.
Although there was an impressive 22 black belts registered for the black belt adult divisions, the absolute consisted of a slightly disappointing six entrants, spanning all the weight classes from roosterweight up to ultra-heavyweight. Middleweight Matthias Ribeiro defeated Italian Andrea Verdemare with a lapel wrap cross choke from the 50/50 guard, and then Norway’s Thomas Johannessen after another 50/50 duel, but one that was punctuated by a brief pass to knee on belly to give him the winning points. The final score was 11-8, with the other points coming from back and forth sweeps. The other side of the bracket saw ultra-heavyweight Alan Vitor Ferreira defeat local middle-heavyweight Jaouad Karbal in a match that took place almost entirely on the feet. This was probably the most electric match of the day, with the crowd roaring as the two competitors clashed on their feet. A huge footsweep put Alan in the lead by two points, a position he enjoyed for much of the match. However, with less than a minute left, he misjudged a takedown attempt and ended conceding a counter-takedown to bring the points even. Although Alan still had a narrow lead on advantages, Jaouad saw his opportunity and leapt for his opponent’s back, trying to secure the hooks that would give him the victory. Alan defended well though, never quite giving Jaouad the position he needed. Despite the supportive roars of the crowd, as the buzzer sounded it was Alan who would take the victory by three advantages and face off against Matthias in the openweight final.
Matthias quickly pulled an open guard, using his legs to keep his opponent at bay as Alan tried to stack and flip his smaller opponent. After a short period of this, Matthias was able to secure an omoplata, and as Alan moved to defend he was able to transition to a belly-down armbar and claim the submission victory and the black belt absolute title with it.
See the full results here: http://static.ibjjfdb.com/Campeonato/000326/en-US/Results.pdf