Bianca Basilio believes with a little grace she could reach the medal rounds of the ongoing Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
It certainly helped her reach the last-16 stage of the competition's main weight draw after pipping reigning champion - and fellow Brazilian fighter - Beatriz Mesquita even though she lost their fight in the 62-kilogram weight black belt category at Mubadala Arena on Thursday.
World Pro regulations limit two participants from each country to reach the last 16. The top-ranked fighter from that country usually earns an automatic spot, while all others have to go through a qualifying process.
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In Brazil's case, the name of the beneficiary of the automatic qualification has yet to be announced, while on Thursday Basilio, Mesquita, Nadia Melo and Luiza Monteiro had to fight for the one qualifying spot.
Even though Basilio lost to Mesquita, she booked her passage to the round of 16 after beating Monteiro and Melo. She was also fortunate in that Mesquita was denied a third straight win by a no-show from Melo, who reported injured.
The defending champion took that decision sportingly, though, saying she would stand by the competition rules.
“It’s not the nicest way to be eliminated from the main draw but I’m not disputing or blaming anyone,” Mesquita said.
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“I don’t believe in good fortune and bad fortune but in God’s decision,” Basilio said when asked if she was lucky to be in the main draw. “Having made it to the last 16 in the main draw, now I want to go all out there and win. That’s in God’s hands, too.”
Basilio is no stranger to Abu Dhabi. She won gold in the purple belt on her first visit in 2015, and clinched silver and bronze in the brown belt weight division and absolute class respectively. She also reached the quarter-finals in the black belt division last year.
“Abu Dhabi impressed me on my first visit and it continues to be the best place for jiu-jitsu,” said Basilio, who was influenced by some of her friends to get into jiu-jitsu because of her passion for sport from a very young age.
“I was 10 when I first attended a jiu-jitsu class,” she said. “I was playing football and handball, and practised muay thai [a combat sport that originated in Thailand].
“I had some success in jiu-jitsu, and with the encouragement from my coaches I pursued the martial art full-time. Now I only do jiu-jitsu and want to compete as long as I can.
“My family, too, started following me in jiu-jitsu. My father is a brown belt and younger brother purple belt. Hopefully they can travel with me to Abu Dhabi, God willing.”
Joining Basilio in the women’s main draw from the Brazilian qualifying stage are Jessica da Silva in the 90kg black belt division and Ana Carolina Srour in the 70kg black belt category.
Meanwhile, Brazilians walked away with six gold medals that were up for grabs in the Black belt Masters 2.
Alexandre Odebrecht won the 110kg final from compatriot Fabio Martins. Others winners included Bruno Marques (94kg), Alexandre Moreno (85kg), Mathias Ribeiro (77kg), Denilson Pimenta (69kg) and Felipe Costa (62).