The world of jiu-jitsu united in a spectacular show of unity and tolerance as Abu Dhabi solidified its standing as the sport’s global home following an action-packed finale at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2019 – held 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.
With numerous world No. 1 athletes in action, the finals of the week-long ADWPJJC 2019 saw 24 athletes from nine countries – Belgium, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, UK, USA and UAE – contest 12 World Pro titles in seven male black belt weight divisions and five female brown / black belt weight divisions.
At the end of 12 thrilling matches on the Mubadala Arena mats, Brazil topped the country rankings with a stunning total of 11 gold medals and 3 silvers. The UAE and the UK tied second overall with two silver. Norway came third with one gold.
The UAE won two silver medals through Faisal Al Ketbi in the men’s 85kg division and his colleague Yahia Al Hammadi in the 110kg division.
At the end of the finals, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to the newly-crowned jiu-jitsu heroes.
Other high-profile dignitaries watching the gripping finals, included: Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Khalid Al Nahyan; Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Chairman of Emirates Global Funding Group;Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Minister of the Federal Supreme Council at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; Mohammad Abdullah Al Junaibi, Director of Presidential Protocols at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs; and Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation.
After the finals, Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi said: “Every year the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship steps up another level. It was a great achievement for the UAE to have Faisal and Yahia in the black belt World Pro finals – they can be very proud, we all should, of their achievements.”
Major names from the world of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts were also in attendance, including Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, who said: “This championship always attracts the best-of-the-best, but the quality is getting even higher. Abu Dhabi has done great things for our sport, in bridging the gap between amateur and professional levels, and making it accessible to people of all ages – from children through to older adults.”
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Interim Heavyweight Champion, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, was also in attendance.
After a successful 11th edition of the world’s most prominent jiu-jitsu competition, Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, said: “Abu Dhabi and the UAE have written another exciting chapter in the pages of jiu-jitsu history. The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship continues to go from strength-to-strength, as evidenced by the truly world-class field of international champions gathered in Abu Dhabi – the global home of jiu-jitsu – this year.” ”We thank our supporters, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, our country’s visionary President, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their enduring commitment to growing jiu-jitsu across the UAE. A special thanks also to our sponsors and event partners, who continue to invest in the growth of the sport and the Championship,” added Al Hashemi.
In the men’s 110kg division, superstar Brazilian heavyweight Joao Gabriel Rocha, of Soul Fighters Team, submitted Al Hammadi while leading 4-0.
The 94kg division title was claimed by emerging Brazilian superstar Kaynan Duarte, 21, who submitted Poland’s Adam Wardzinski after only 88 seconds In the 85kg final, a split decision by judges saw the UAE’s Al Ketbi lose to Brazil’s Rudson Matheus, 23, of Brasa Cta Team.
In the 69kg final, Pslpb Cicero Costha Team’s Paolo Miyao beat the USA’s Isaac Doederlein.
In the 62kg final, World No. 1 Joao Gabriel Sousa, of Zr Team Association, underlined his dominance of the division by beating compatriot Joao Miyao – the brother of triumphant 69kg champion Paolo – on advantage points after their match finished 2-2.
In the 56kg final, Brazil’s Hiago George, from Pslpb Cicero Costha Team, defeated fellow countryman Carlos Alberta De Silva, from GF Team, on advantage points after the contest ended 2-2.
In a truly international female field where athletes from six countries were among 10 women contesting five brown / black belt weight divisions, Brazilian athletes delivered a devastating clean-sweep.
An all-Brazilian final in the 49kg division final saw Mayssa Caldas Pereira Bastos defeat her GF Team colleague Thamires Aquino on points after the six-minute contest went the distance.
In the 55kg division, Brazil’s Bianca Basilio, the world No. 6, beat defending ADWPJJC champion Amal Amjahid, of Belgium, 4-2 in a tense encounter. Brazil’s Beatriz Mesquita continued the South American women’s superiority with a 10-2 defeat of the UK’s Ffion Davies in the 62kg final.
In the 70kg final, Brazil’s Thamara Silva registered the first submission of the ADWPJJC finals when she made New Zealand’s Alessandra Moss tap out after 150 seconds.
Following the ADWPJJC 2019, the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards will crown 23 category winners during a glittering ceremony at the Emirates Palace in the UAE capital on Saturday, April 27. Awards will be handed out to individual winners, the best players from six continents and various schools and clubs from around the globe.