• 26 / Apr / 2019

His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, awards winning athletes on ADWPJJC podium

Brazilian athletes win 11 of 12 finals as they surge to ADWPJJC glory; UAE and UK finish tied-second with two silver medals; Norway takes third

UAE’s Al Ketbi and Al Hammadi clinch 85kg and 110kg silver medals

Finals close 2018-19 season with Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards ceremony taking place on Saturday, April 27


Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 26, 2019: 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.

His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, decorates winners

At the end of the finals, His Excellency 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 Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi, Chairman of Emirates Global Funding Group; His Excellency Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, Chairman of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union & Senior Vice President of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation; Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Khalid Al Nahyan; His Excellency Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Minister of the Federal Supreme Council at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and His Excellency Mohammad Abdullah Al Junaibi, Director of Presidential Protocols at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

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.

UAEJJF Chairman praises international athletes for “amazing finale” to ADWPJJC 2019

After a successful 11th edition of the world’s most prominent jiu-jitsu competition, His Excellency 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.

Drama and power dominate men’s finals

In the men’s 110kg division, superstar Brazilian heavyweight Joao Gabriel Rocha, of Soul Fighters Team, submitted Al Hammadi while leading 4-0.

“Seven fights, seven wars – it’s amazing to be champion. I played my natural aggressive game and it all came together. I always want to win every tournament I fight in, so I am very proud of myself, my family and my team. Tomorrow I’m straight back into the gym because I need to keep going and find the next level,” said Rocha.

The 94kg division title was claimed by emerging Brazilian superstar Kaynan Duarte, 21, who submitted Poland’s Adam Wardzinski after only 88 seconds. With Duarte’s win adding ADWPJJC 2019 glory to two Abu Dhabi Grand Slam golds earlier this season, the Brazilian’s scintillating victory run has confirmed his rookie black belt season as a stand-out chapter in jiu-jitsu history.

“This is my first year as a black belt, so to win my first World Pro title is amazing and to win in just 88 seconds makes it extra special,” said Duarte. “I didn’t know what to expect in my first season as a black belt, so I didn’t put pressure on myself and I’ve just felt comfortable doing what I do. Three days of intense competition has been hard for me, but I’ve surprised myself – I’ve loved it. I will be back for sure.”

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. Only seconds before the six-minute match had elapsed, Al Ketbi had a penalty overruled by the judges ensuring the two athletes finished their final with exactly the same scorecards of two points, one advantage and two penalties each. The Emirati hero raised his arm in victory, only to plunge to the mat in disappointment when the referee awarded the match to Matheus.

Matheus said: “I feel good with this win, I’ve waited a long time for this championship. Faisal is a great guy and he represents his country so well. It’s tough for him today, but he performed really well. I am very happy to win in Abu Dhabi - today is a good day for me.”

Norway’s Tommy Langaker won the 77kg category title by submitting the UK’s Oliver Lovell. Langaker had led the final 6-0 at the time of the submission.

“This is my first gold in a major final, so I’ve made a dream come true today. That was my only submission of the tournament and I think it helped that I got some points early, it took the pressure off me and piled it on Oliver, who’s a great guy and a real competitor,” said Langaker.

In the 69kg final, Pslpb Cicero Costha Team’s Paolo Miyao beat the USA’s Isaac Doederlein. The pair’s match ended tied 2-2 on scored points, but Miyao won by account of the American’s penalty point for a technical fault.

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.

“Words can’t describe the feeling. Last year I couldn’t imagine winning but to repeat the victory is extra special. Many people in Abu Dhabi support me and I have a lot of friends here that say I inspire them. That gave me motivation, so this win is for them. I’ll be back next year to defend my title,” said Sousa.

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.

Brazilian women produce stunning finals clean-sweep

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. Basilio’s gold sealed her second consecutive ADWPJJC title after she claimed gold in the 62kg division in 2018. “I am living my dream all over again, I am so happy to win – this feels so good and I want to thank my team and family for supporting me,” said Basilio.

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. “I feel great to win my fifth title in Abu Dhabi and the gold gives me so much confidence going into the Brazil nationals next weekend.”

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.

The Brazilian women’s clean-sweep of titles was confirmed when Gabrieli Pessanha, the current world No.1, underlined her status as the world’s leading superstar heavyweight by submitting France’s Claire-France Thevenon in the 90kg final.

“It was a good fight and I’m really happy to win on my first time in Abu Dhabi. I want to keep on winning major competitions, Grand Slams and, of course, in Abu Dhabi next year,” said 18-year-old Pessanha.

Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards to celebrate ‘Heroes’ on Saturday, April 27

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.

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