Meyran Alves came through undefeated to clinch the King of Mats title on Day 2 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour finals at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena at Zayed Sports City on Saturday.
The Brazilian, competing under the Al Wahda Club banner, was completing a double for his country after compatriot Yara Nascimento was crowned the Queen of Mats.
Alves, 21, edged out American Isaac Doederlein in the final 2-1 on points for the lightweight title.
“It was a very hard bracket with the best in the weight category and I’m glad I came through all the fights in my first time in this prestigious competition,” Alves told The National.
“I had to go through four fights without any break in-between. It was the same format for everyone but that makes it very tough in combat sports. Nevertheless, I’m super happy for the night’s work.”
Doederlein also reached the final without dropping a game but couldn’t match Alves on the night.
“I watched Isaac’s fights and knew his strong points when he reached the final. It was a very close final and I just managed to get the better of him,” Alves said.
Wahda coach Gabriel Figueiro was instrumental in getting both Alves and Nascimento to compete under the Abu Dhabi club.
“I coached Meyran back in Brazil and got them down for the King and Queen of Mats,” said Figueiro, who took charge of Wahda’s jiu-jitsu team two months ago.
Omar Al Fadhli failed to progress on his debut at the King of Mats, narrowly going down to Brazilian Lucas Pinheiro 1-0 in the opening fight and losing to Doederlein by submission after taking a 2-0 lead in the next.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian men once again dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Masters 1 black belt division, winning six of the seven golds on offer.
Igor Silva retained his 120-kilogram super heavyweight title defeating Felipe Bezzera on points 12-6.
A former world champion and a long time competitor in Abu Dhabi, Silva, 38, has lost count of the medals he has won in the UAE.
“Abu Dhabi is one of the best venues for jiu-jitsu and I have enjoyed the competition, the facilities as well as the hospitality provided for the athletes here,” Silva said.
“I have met Felipe a few times and also in last year’s final. He’s a very tough opponent to overcome. I had to bid my time to catch him off-guard tonight, and it came in the final 30 seconds of the fight. Obviously I’m very happy to return with another gold from Abu Dhabi.”
The only gold that slipped from the clutches of the Brazilians was in the 77kg welterweight final where Osvaldo Moizinho rallied in the final seconds to get the better of another former world champion Adriano Araujo by points 3-2.
“I’m a Brazilian now representing the United States of America, but it’s good to win a gold for my adopted country,” Moizinho said. “I moved to the USA 12 years ago and received my citizenship recently. However, I learnt my jiu-jitsu from where I was born.”
Moizinho, 35, first took part in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2014 and won a bronze in the same event last year.
“I’m happy to take with e a gold this time,” he added. “Adriano is a big name in the jiu-jitsu circuit and it was my first meeting ever against him.
“He was leading by two points and with time running out, I gave it all in the final seconds of that fight to close the gap to a point before scoring off a sweep to win.
Thiago Marques made a remarkable come-back to clinch the 69kg title from Rafael Mansur in another all-Brazilian final.
Mansur was leading 2-1 on points when Marques turned it around with a foot-lock to force a submission with just seconds left for the bell.