This past weekend, the Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship held its fifth annual event, and once again there was no lack of controversy and excitement throughout the four-day event.

The tournament was filled with exciting match-ups, surprising upsets and riveting controversial calls by the referees, which all made this World Pro tournament one to remember and one that will be talked about for a long time.

Cornelius and Miyao Both DQ’d in Absolute Final

In the brown belt absolute category, the finale once again came down to Keenan Cornelius of Team Atos and Paulo Miyao of Cicero Costha. They are both widely known for having their matches go from the double guard pull for the majority of the match, with neither one scoring much until the end. But after this weekend, their strategies might have to change, as the referees in Abu Dhabi did not put up with the lack of action. After three stalling calls against both competitors, the head referee had finally seen enough and disqualified both Miyao and Cornelius, leaving neither with the first place nor the cash prize.

The event, knowing it needed a winner, awarded original third-place finisher Kaue Damasceno the championship belt and the winner’s cash prize. For Damasceno, this was redemption for a long and controversial weekend, where he came in third in his weight class when many believed he should have won his semifinal bout.

There was an uproar on social media supporting both the referee’s side and the competitor’s side with what happened, but with this unexpected DQ, it should be interesting to see if the IBJJF carries suit and will call for stalling quicker in its matches as well.

Gabrielle Garcia Wins Fourth Absolute Title in Abu Dhabi

Alliance black belt Gabrielle Garcia has always been one to spark up some controversy, but no one can deny her dominance of the women’s category. Undefeated for the last four years, Garcia once again steamrolled through her weight and absolute categories, walking away with $16,000 U.S. dollars by the end of the event. Along the way, she defeated countless stalwarts such as Tammy Griego, Michelle Nicolini, Mackenzie Dern and Beatriz Mesquita.

Next for Garcia is the World Jiu-Jitsu championships out in California. Who do you think can stop Garcia from winning her fourth absolute title in Long Beach?

Buchecha Triumphs Over Rodolfo Vieira Again

The most anticipated match-up coming into the weekend’s event was a potential rematch between reigning World absolute champion, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and defending two-time World Pro absolute champion, Rodolfo Vieira. Their previous match in June at the World championships was still fresh in everyone’s memory, as it was considered to be the best match ever, and on Saturday they gave the crowd yet another battle to remember.

A lot like their battle in June, Almeida had to win it by coming from behind. Down 2-0, Almeida was nearly mounted before he scored the sweep to even the score. Vieira, a warrior as always, countered back with his second sweep of the match, making it 4-2. But with less than a minute left, Buchecha used everything he had to put Vieira on his back one more time and keep him there. Then in the final seconds, with Vieira opening up, Almeida nearly scored a guard pass as time expired. Almeida was awarded the victory and the championship belt, winning the match by two advantage points.

Unlike their previous encounter, when the two seemed bitter towards each other, they hugged after the bout and showed a great deal of respect for each other as they took their respective places on the podium. In the end, Buchecha won his first World Pro absolute title and walked away with $33,000 in total by the end of the weekend.

In the weight categories, there were numerous surprises, but still plenty of the favorites showed why they are considered favorites. The weight class results:

64kg: Thiago Barreto Marquez def. Samuel Hertzog by submission
70kg: Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes def. Rubens Charles by a score of 2-0
76kg: Leandro “Lo” Nascimento” def. Lucas Lepri by advantage points (1-0)
82kg: Marcos Souza def. Victor Estima by a score of 2-0
88kg: Andre Galvao def. Romulo Barral due to injury
94kg: Rodolfo Vieira def. Pedro Peres by submission
100kg: Antonio Braga Neto def. Jose Junior
+100kg: Rodrigo Cavaca def. Marcus Almeida by a score of 7-2

Photo: Buchecha (Tatame)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.