Yara Nascimento completes Abu Dhabi Grand Slam double with heavyweight title win

Russian Anton Seleznev stops a Brazilian sweep of the black belt finals

Yara Nascimento, top, during her win over Silvia Scomparin on Day 3 of the Jiu-Jitsu Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour. Antonie Robertson/The National
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It took only 37 seconds for Yara Nascimento to complete the Jiu-Jitsu Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World Tour double.

The Brazilian claimed the women’s heavyweight 95-kilogram final defeating Silvia Scomparin with a rear naked choke on the third and final day of the competition at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena at Zayed Sports City on Sunday.

Nascimento, 26, came out with a perfect record to clinch the Queen of Mats on Day 1 of the Grand Slam season finale and her victory on the final day consolidated her top spot in the Abu Dhabi World Tour women’s professional heavyweight ranking.

“It’s been an amazing two days for me for the two titles, and I am so happy,” Nascimento told The National.

“The Queen of Mats was very tough as I had to go through four fights in a short period of time and the Grand Slam tonight turned out to be a much easier task. But having said that, you still had to go out there and fight for the win.”

Nascimento, though, revealed her finest memory of fighting in Abu Dhabi was still her victory over the world champion and compatriot Gabrieli Pessanha in the Grand Slam at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena last year.

“Winning the Queen of Mats and the heavyweight gold was good by last year’s win over Gabrieli is still remains the best ever for me in Abu Dhabi,” Nascimento said.

The Brazilians dominated the 12 black belt categories for both men and women, bar one, which was won by Anton Seleznev of Russia.

Appearing for the first time in the black belt division, Seleznev overcame Brazilian Wallace Cost by points 2-0 in a tense super heavyweight 120kg final.

Brazil's Yara Nascimento celebrates beating Silvia Scomparin of Italy.
Antonie Robertson/The National

“I have competed in Abu Dhabi a few times in the purple belt and have won silver in the World Pro [Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship], and this is my first gold and I feel on top of the world,” Seleznev said.

Seleznev had to come through a tough bracket, defeating Brazilians Daniel Ribeiro, Igor Silva – who won the Masters 1 heavyweight gold on Saturday – and Guilherme Guedes.

“It indeed was a very tough passage but I had worked very hard to achieve my goal tonight,” he added.

“I was exhausted when I reached the final. However, I didn’t want this gold-medal winning opportunity to slip away, and gave everything I had in the final.”

The Emirati fighters bagged five golds, four silvers and four bronze from the 30 finals worked off on the night.

Russia's Anton Seleznev, right, during his win over Wallace Costa of Brazil.
Antonie Robertson/The National

Theyab Al Nuaimi and Khaled Mohammed Al Shehhi took golds in the purple belt 56kg and 62kg, respectively, and Zayed Al Katheeri won the brown belt 56kg final.

Hamda Al Shkeili (49kg) and Bashayer Al Matrooshi (62kg) added the other two golds in the women’s purple belt.

Sharifa Al Naamani, 21, who took silver in the women’s black/brown belt 49kg weight behind Brazilian Vanderlucia Lima, said the competition was a learning curve for the Emirati girls.

“In my division, I was up against very experienced black belts and to reach the final was itself an achievement,” Al Naamani, a final year undergraduate in IT Security at the Higher Colleges of Technology, added.

“I have competed in the Grand Slam and World Pro in the blue belt and competition with the black belts was a new experience. My objective is to continue training for the upcoming competitions.”

Updated: May 08, 2022, 6:40 PM