Thiago Marquez retained his Masters-1 title in the 69-kilogram division at the 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship.
The Brazilian, representing the Abu Dhabi based Commando Group, got the better of Brazil-born American Osvaldo Moizinho in the final by submission at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Wednesday.
Marquez, 38, drew a first-round bye and won his next two fights against Jordanian Abdelkarim Zaid and compatriot Victor Moraes, both by submission, to remain undefeated in the Abu Dhabi Masters since moving to the capital city to work as a jiu-jitsu instructor for the Commando Group in 2015.
“For me, aside from winning tonight, it’s been a long and beautiful journey to be able to work, train and compete in my favourite sport in Abu Dhabi,” the he said.
“I want to keep myself in good shape and be in jiu-jitsu for as long as possible. I put in the same amount of work when I first participated in the World Pro in 2012.”
Rodrigo Ribeiro stunned defending champion Igor Silva in an all-Brazilian final in the Masters-1 black belt 120kg.
Other winners were Emerson da Silva (56kg), Jose Barros (62kg) and Renato Cardoso (94kg). The remaining two golds in the Masters-1 black belt were claimed by Swede Alan do Nascimento (77kg) and Australian William Dias (85kg).
Mohammad Al Yami of Saudi Arabia travelled all the way from the United States to compete and took gold in the Masters-2 (62kg) blue belt division.
“The Abu Dhabi World Pro was a chance I couldn't pass,” he said. “Many of my family members and friends came to watch me fight and cheered me on. My gold medal achievement came as a happy surprise for them.”
Cinthya de Paula Oliveira bagged gold in the Master-1 (70kg) blue belt for women.
“Honestly speaking, Brazilian athletes like the Abu Dhabi World Pro,” she said. “Everybody was counting on this championship. It’s wonderful that I was able to win the medal, but more than that, it's a great event where we can reconnect with old friends and make new ones in the jiu-jitsu community.”
Briton Valmyr Neto returned with a gold in the Masters-2 (62kg) black belt men’s division is already planning to return in 2023.
“The UAE, especially Abu Dhabi, is the land of real opportunities,” he said. “All you need to do is prepare, show courage, and perform. If you do these three, you will get the desired outcomes. The tournament is fantastic in every way, and I want to return the next year.”
Meanwhile, the preliminaries for the main open championship for men and women got underway on Thursday and will continue on Friday with the finals slated for Saturday.