The world's leading women’s jiu-jitsu fighters go head-to-head in the inaugural Queen of Mats at the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi.
Headlining the six-fighter line-up for the crown at the Mubadala Arena on Friday is the Brazilian world champion Gabrieli Pessanha.
Challenging her are compatriots Nathiely de Jesus and Thamara Ferreira, Samantha Cook of Britain, American Kendall Reusing and Martina Gramenius of Sweden.
“We introduced the King of Mats during the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship in April 2018,” Tareq Al Bahri, the director of the Abu Dhabi World Tour, said.
“It has become a very big draw in the men’s circuit. We have now extended the same for the women fighters. It is another unique competition to bring the world’s leading jiu-jitsu fighters together in a top flight event.”
Pessanha, 19, takes the mat having won every Grand Slam event she has entered in from 2018.
Her winning streak began in Los Angeles on September 2018. She followed that up with golds in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi and London before rounding off the season with the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championship, also known as the World Pro, in April 2019.
Pessanha wrote on her Facebook page: “So I close my year 2019! Gratitude for every experience I spent this year. Gratitude for every achievement. Grateful for every learning.
“No doubt this was my best year regarding jiu-jitsu, because I won titles I always dreamed of having one day, like the World Pro in Abu Dhabi. I wrote a beautiful story in 2019! Now I want to write a better one in 2020.”
The Queen of Mats follows the same format as the King of Mats with fighters divided in two groups. The top two in each group advance to the semi-finals. The event concludes with the third place contest and the final.