Yuri Simões remembers ADCC triumph over Keenan and projects: “active in grappling and MMA”

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Yuri and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Photo: Personal Archive

Yuri Simões, 31, sits on the shelf of grappling greats. The black-belt has two consecutive ADCC titles, won in 2015 in São Paulo, Brazil and in 2017 in Helsinki, Finland, respectively.

Between 2014 and 2015, Yuri started devoting more of his time to no-gi training, and the results were gigantic. For example, before winning his first ADCC, the athlete was already riding the momentum of winning double gold at the IBJJF’s No-Gi Worlds, where he beat Keenar Cornelius, who represented Atos at the time.

A year later, in 2015, on Brazilian soil, the two clashed for the title of best grappler in the ADCC’s 88kg division. Yuri, again, won by three points, after totally dominating the standup and ground portions of the match.

“From that day, I have great memories,” the Brazilian said in a recent interview. “I was coming off a great phase in no-gi; I had just won my weight and the absolute in the No-Gi Worlds, and that ended up being reflected there, also, at the ADCC.”

“Of the fight with Keenan, I have little memories from that day, but I can tell you I was very dominant during the fight. I showed that I had arrived to stay, and that’s what happened. The fight was fast-paced, but I was one step ahead the whole time. I remember that halfway into the fight, I got a takedown and went straight to the back. It was one of the decisive moments of that day.”

About the feeling of bagging the gold medal, Yuri added: “It gave me the certainty that all my hard work and sacrifices to be there paid off! Starting that moment, my name would be etched in the history of grapping, of jiu-jitsu, forever.”

An MMA athlete fighting for AKA, where he trains side by side with Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov, Yuri is presently keeping his boxing and Muay Thai training active while waiting to be summoned by One Championship.

“I remain focused on my MMA and grappling training,” he said. “I am an active fighter and love the process of learning and training. I can’t wait to put on the gloves again.”

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