Find out who in Natal earned their way to Abu Dhabi

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The 13 qualified for Abu Dhabi and promoter Fabio Hollanda / Photo by Junior Samurai/

Sunday was a big day for Jiu-Jitsu in Northeastern Brazil, as competitors from all across the region descended on Natal, Rio Grande do Norte State, to clash on the mats in hopes of earning an all-expenses-paid trip to the April 2013 WPJJC main event in Abu Dhabi.

The tournament organized by our GMA Fabio Holanda paid out in 13 full travel packages to the United Arab Emirates.

Paulo Miyao in action / Photo by Junior Samurai/

Among those who’ve secured their travel fare is brown belt Paulo Miyao, who took top spot in the brown/black belt under-65 kg division upon outdoing Lucas Dantas and his Kimura/Nova União cheering section.

“I had three matches. In the semifinal my teammate Felipe Iwasaki let me go past. I’m training and you only reap the fruit of your work,” he said.

Another brown belt confirmed to be on the mats in the Middle East is João Gabriel, who in his last two matches displayed one of Jiu-Jitsu’s cardinal qualities—patience.

The Soul Fighters representative was losing his semifinal against the muscular Bruno Novaes (Nova União) when he pulled a Hail Mary sweep from his sleeve as the clock ran its course. In the grand finale, he kept his cool and outpointed the giant Caião Alencar by 2-0 to take gold in the over-92 kg division.

“It was a really difficult campaign. I only had tough opponents. It was war the whole time. What made the difference for me was that I believed I could do it the whole time. Before the competition I wasn’t feeling too well, but I thought to myself ‘Since I’m already here, I’ll give it my all,’ and it worked out. I think it was all about heart,” he said.

In the under-74 kg division, local fighter Bruno Ramos, whose game is based on animal movements (read about it here), put on a show. He earned his flight to the UAE by overcoming Paulo Ledesma (Atos JJ) by 4-0 in the final. “It was really gratifying to win at home. Last year I struck out, but this year I made it. Today I put all the moves Professor Zé Radiola teaches to work and didn’t let my prey get away,” said Ramos.

CheckMat closed out the under-92 kg division. On one side, Tarcísio Jardim took out three opponents, while Nivaldo Oliveira did the same at the other end of the bracket. Tarcísio ended up taking the ticket.

Leandro Lo against Charles Negromonte in under-83kg semifinal

Now Leandro Lo (Cicero Costha) continues his rampant competition campaign, winning the under-84 kg division. The São Paulo native beat four opponents before meeting Diogo Sampaio in the final. In the big decider, Lo swept, got knee-on-belly and launched an arm attack to seal the deal with an armbar.

Thrilling female contest

Jessica Cristina (Gracie Miquinho) won the lightweight division on Saturday and came back for the lightweight absolute on Sunday. The São Paulo native outpointed Michelle Nicolini 2-2 on points and 3-2 on advantage points for the gold in the purple/brown/black belt division. “It was tough. I faced Marina Ribeiro and Michelle Nicolini, but I dedicated myself to training because I wanted to earn my ticket again. And I did,” said Jessica.

Another pleasant surprise was the like-named Jessica Oliveira (Gracie Barra), who sunk a triangle, swept and tapped out black belt Ana Lewroy with an armbar in winning the heavyweight absolute.

Colored belts

João Miyao celebrates victory in the purple belt lightweight absolute.

In the purple belt lightweight absolute, João Miyao and Marcio André put on another dazzling bout, which this time ended in a draw. In the 12th meeting between the two (it stands at 6-6) the referee’s decision favored João. Now Patrick Gaudio and Max Santos closed out the heavyweight absolute for GFTeam, and Gaudio took the win.

At blue belt, Admilson Gobi (de la Riva) tapped out Dennys Ricardo (Kimura/Nova União) via armbar and took the heavyweight absolute title.

In the lightweight absolute, Isaque Braz (Kimura/Nova União) took top spot. In the blue belt female contest, young Jaqueline Amorim (Asle), 17, outpointed Iris Batista (Kimura/Nova União) by 6-0 in the final.

Another who’ll be heading east is João Carlos of Kimura/Nova União, who won the white belt absolute.

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