Mubadala Arena was home to a series of dramatic finals on Saturday, with the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 drawing to an exciting close in front of electrified crowds and high-profile dignitaries.
With more than 9,000 athletes from 120 countries taking part over the course of two weeks, and total prize money exceeding $1 million, the finals concluded the sport’s largest and most prominent tournament, as well as the UAE Jiu-Jitsu 2017 – 2018 season.
The finals saw Brazil secure first place with a total of nine gold medals, one silver and six bronze. USA came second overall with one gold and two silvers, while Norway and Belgium took home one gold medal each. The UAE won two silver medals, with Faisal Al Ketbi and Talib Al Karbi making it through to today’s finals.
The Championship has been held by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In the men’s finals, Emirati champion Faisal Al Ketbi and Isaque Braz from Brazil grappled in out in a dramatic final for the black belt 85kg Adult division. Isaque Braz eventually claimed the title with a two point lead, with the Emirati fan-favourite taking home a silver medal from the prestigious Championship.
After the match, Al Ketbi said: “I did everything possible to do my country proud. I am now looking forward and preparing for Asiad 2018 in August, when I hope to improve my standing.”
Gold medallist Isaque Braz said he was pleased with today’s result, but needs to remain focussed for future tournaments. “I like the pressure of competing abroad, where everyone wants my competitor to win – it’s the best thing to keep me motivated,” he said.
Speaking on the event itself, Braz said: “In my opinion, this has been the most professional championship, and there’s a lot of support for the sport here.”
The Master 1 69kg black belt final was also held today, seeing Emirati national Talib Al Karbi take on Bazilian Thiago Maques, with the Brazilian forcing a submission with a leglock.
In the men’s Adult 62kg black belt division, Brazilian Joao Miyao defeated Wanki Chae from South Korea, with a final score of 7-2.
Renowned US competitor Gianni Grippo and Paulo Miyao from Brazil took centre stage for the Adult black belt 69kg division, with Grippo taking an early two-point lead before Miyao equalised and took gold with a one point advantage.
Meanwhile, Jacob Mackenzie from Canada and Espen Mathiesen from Norway battled it out in the 77kg black belt final, with the Norwegian winning by submission in the third minute.
In the black belt 94kg final, Adam Wadzinski from Poland and Felipe Pena from Brazil competed for first place, with Pena taking gold with a four point lead.
The finals concluded with Lucio Rodrigues from the United Kingdom and Erbeth Santos competing for gold in the 110kg division. Santos took gold after a chokehold forced Rodrigues into submission.
In the women’s finals, the women’s Adult 49kg brown and black belt final saw Mayssa Caldas Bastos from Brazil take the gold in a close final, securing two points over Australian Livia Gluchowska in a victory by submission.
Belgian Amal Amjahid and Brazilian Amanda Nogueira battled it out on the mat for the male brown and black belt 55kg final, with Amal taking gold after a dramatic armlock and chokehold led to submission.
The brown and black belt 62kg final saw Bianca Basilio represent Brazil and Ffion Davies from represent the UK, in a close match that ultimately saw Basilio awarded a win by the judges.
In the women’s black belt 70kg final, Jessica Swanson represented the US and Ana Carolina from Brazil took to the mat, with the Brazilian taking gold after securing a nine point lead.
Marta Szarecka from Poland and Angelica Galvao from the US competed in the brown and black belt 90kg final. Galvao secured gold for the US with a six point lead over her Brazilian competitor.