Adam Wardzinski fulfils his dream with gold at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Pole beats Brazilian Renato Cardoso in 94kg black belt final

Adam Wardzinski celebrates after winning the black belt 94kg final against Renato Cardozo in the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena. Courtesy UAEJJF
Adam Wardzinski celebrates after winning the black belt 94kg final against Renato Cardozo in the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena. Courtesy UAEJJF

Adam Wardzinski fulfilled a long-time dream by winning his first gold at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

The Pole, who won the same 94kg black belt division in the Abu Dhabi World Masters two days earlier, secured a 6-4 points victory over Brazilian Renato Cardoso at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Friday.

“It feels great to get my first gold after two consecutive years of settling for silver at the World Pro,” Wardzinski said.

“This is one of my all-time dreams coming true and I cannot wait to come back and defend my title next year.

“I knew my opponent very well as we squared off many times in the past. I knew he would be tough and we both had our strategical approach, and I managed to get the win at the end.”

Wardzinski was full of praise for the organisers of the championship, also known as a the World Pro, for staging the event in difficult times.

“For us athletes who live for this sport, this event in Abu Dhabi offers us hope in the continuation of the competitions in these challenging times,” the Polish champion added.

Pablo Lavaselli from Argentina was the other black belt winner, overcoming Norway’s Espen Mathiesen 5-4 on points in the 77kg final.

The Dh2.7million championship was postponed twice last year because of Coronavirus and took place behind closed doors.

Adam Wardzinski in white gets into a guard position against Renato Cardoso in the black belt 94kg final in the 12th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena. Courtesy UAEJJF
Adam Wardzinski (in white) gets into a guard position against Renato Cardoso in the black belt 94kg final. Courtesy UAEJJF

Brazil dominated the black belt divisions by taking 10 out of the 12 gold medals in the men and women’s divisions.

They topped the overall medals table with 16 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze, with Diego Batista, Francisco Andrade, Israel Almeida, Isaque Braz and heavyweight Gutemberg Pereira claiming victories in the men’s black belt. The host nation finished second with six golds, 12 silvers and six bronze.

Batista clinched his first World Pro gold in the black belt 62kg division after a hard-fought 4-3 victory over compatriot Hiago George.

“Winning gold in my black belt debut at the World Pro feels special,” Batista said.

“Great work by the organising committee to give jiu-jitsu fighters the opportunity to compete and practice the sport we love safely.”

The Brazilian women swept all five golds. Gabrielli Pessanha retained her heavyweight crown, and joining her were Beatriz Mesquita, Julia Boscher, Bianca Basilio and Brenda Larissa.

Mesquita put in a top performance to capture her sixth title, taking less than a minute to win with an arm-bar on compatriot Larissa Paes in the 62kg black belt.

“Today's victory is one of the most important achievements in my career, as I have been training and competing for this moment,” Mesquita said.

“My training in the pandemic did not stop and that was the main reason why I have captured the win again this year. Competing in a world championship in such unprecedented circumstances in a safe environment is a true privilege.

“I would like to thank the World Pro organisers for hosting such a successful global championship in these challenging times.”

Updated: April 10, 2021 02:03 PM

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