Gabrieli Pessanha writes her name as first ever heavyweight Abu Dhabi Queen of Mats
The first ever heavyweight bracket of the Abu Dhabi Queen of Mats was an action packed affair for fans on the stands at the Mubadala Arena and also those watching on TV and online all over the world on Friday, January 17. Starting at 5:00PM sharp, the ADQOM heavyweight bracket was full of thrills from beginning to end. Once again, the new scoring system that turns advantages and penalties into points meant that no lead was comfortable enough for athletes to stall. In all 10 matches, competitors went for it in search of victory. Here's how the bracket played out until the champion was crowned.
On Group A's opening match, Gabrieli Pessanha started her journey to the top of the podium with a comeback in a tough match against Thamara Silva. Trailing 0-4 after two minutes, Gabi found a guard pass and a mount to turn the score to 6-4 and also finish with a rear naked choke near the end. On Round 2, Gabi was back on the mat to take Martina Gramenius' back and win her second match with a 4-0 lead. The result meant that Gabi was already in the semifinals as group champion. On Round 3, Thamara Silva sped up her pace to pass Martina Gramenius' guard and reach the full mount. With a 9-1 lead, Thamara secured the win and her spot in the semifinals.
On Group B, Kendall Reusing used her pressure game from the top to build a 3-1 lead on Samantha Cook and celebrate the win. Round 2 saw the debut of Nathiely de Jesus, who used her well-known guard game to finish Kendall with a kimura lock. Group B wrapped up with Nathi back in action against Britain's Samantha Cook. A choke from the back was the final note for Nathi, who made it to the semifinals as group champion. Kendall secured the second spot because of her Round 1 win over Cook.
Gabrieli Pessanha vs. Kendall Reusing
Well-known rivals in the 95kg division of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour, the Brazilian and the American met up once again in Abu Dhabi. Usually a tough and strategic match, this time Gabi managed an early back take to start building the 11-0 lead that secured her spot in the final.
Nathiely de Jesus vs. Thamara Silva
Nathi needed less than one minute to finish the match. With a lightning fast back take, she rolled her way to a choke from the back to beat Thamara and write her name in the title match.
THIRD PLACE MATCH
Thamara Silva vs. Kendall Reusing
The fight for a spot in the podium was intense. Thamara Silva gave no rest for Kendall and used her guard game to unbalance Reusing and build a 4-2 lead with two sweeps. In the end, Thamara celebrated the win and her presence on the podium.
Gabrieli Pessanha vs. Nathiely de Jesus
Every time they meet is a thrilling occasion. Gabi and Nathi are at the top of their game and have been ruling over the heaviest division of women's Jiu-Jitsu for a while now. In Abu Dhabi, this Friday, it was no different. The two rivals were very cautious during the eight minutes and allowed almost no opportunity for the other to score. One sweep by Gabi secured her the 2-1 lead that she carried all the way to the end of the match. After the final second went by, Gabi was able to celebrate the biggest title in her still young career. “There was still a lot of people who doubted me. Said I was too young, only 19. Well, now I am the Queen. I want to thank God and all my family, friends and teammates for all the help,” said the newly crowned heavyweight monarch.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tour Abu Dhabi returns for its final day this Saturday, January 18. The adult black belt division will be the highlight of the program. Click here for the full results of days 1 and 2. Follow all the latest news on the AJP Tour on Instagram at @ajptour and @jjwplus. Be a part of the show by posting your experiences on social media using the hashtags #abudhabigrandslam, #adgsad and #ajptour.