Abu Dhabi King of Mats: relive the season when the best competitors in the world waged war for the ADKOM crowns
After a successful launch in the 2018/2019 season, the Abu Dhabi King of Mats series entered the 2019/2020 season aiming even higher as the elite of the Jiu-Jitsu competition world lined up for battle. All three weight classes (lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight) had events throughout the season. The grand finale was in Rio, on November 2019, when the three crowns were at play. Let's relive the thrills of each ADKOM event in the past 12 months.
Abu Dhabi King of Mats – Heavyweight
June 15, 2019
The big guys went into the action first. Ten of the most accomplished athletes over 94kg came together in Russia. João Gabriel Rocha, Kaynan Duarte, Rudson Mateus, Jonnatas Gracie, Jackson Sousa, Gerard Labinski, Donghwa Choi, Adam Wardzinski, Ricardo Evangelista, Igor Silva were responsible for a full day of non-stop thrills at the Triumph Arena, in Moscow. Brazil's João Gabriel Rocha had a stellar performance on his way to the final, having top overcome a submission defeat to Kaynan Duarte on his very first match of the group stage. In the semifinal, Rocha survived a tight armbar attack to pass Joannatas Gracie's guard and win 3-0. In the other semifinal, Kaynan Duarte beat Rudson Mateus 4-2 for the right to fight for the title. The title ended on Rocha's hands after a hair raising end to the final match. One advantage for a takedown in the final seconds earned João the narrow lead to claim the title of heavyweight ADKOM champion.
Abu Dhabi King of Mats – Lightweight
July 27, 2019
Isaac Doederlein came, fought and conquered! The Ota Gymnasium was the setting for a thrilling day of matches with 8 of the best lightweight competitors in the world, featuring Isaac, Gabriel Sousa, Diego Batista, Cleber Fernandes, Tomoyuki Hashimoto, Thiago Macedo, Wanki Chae, Nobuhiro Sawada. Isaac cruised through the group stage, finishing Thiago on an armbar, beating Diego 3-1 and Hashimoto also with an armbar. In the semifinals, Isaac quickly found the setup for an armbar on Cleber, but took him almost the entire match to get the finish. Gabriel made it to the final after beating Diego 4-2. Isaac did not waste a lot of time to secure the title with a foot lock that left Diego no other choice than to tap. The USA finally had a ADKOM champion.
Abu Dhabi King of Mats – Middleweight
Los Angeles, USA
September 14, 2019
Gustavo Batista had no easy path to claim his title in the Abu Dhabi King of Mats pantheon. Competing against seven aces including Isaque Bahiense, Tommy Langaker, Max Lindblad, Nathan Mendelson, Manuel Ribamar, Marcos Tinoco and Diego Ramalho, Batista gave all he had to reach the top. In the group stage, he first beat Marcos Tinoco 14-0, then managed a narrow 1-0 lead on advantages over Tommy Langaker and finally caught Diego Ramalho with a choke from the back. In the semifinal, Gustavo quickly found a way for a bow and arrow choke and a spot in the final. Isaque Bahiense made it to the final with a narrow 1-0 lead on advantages over Marcos Tinoco. The title was settled in a tough and very close match where risks were carefully taken. Gustavo managed a sweep to build a 2-0 lead early and held on to that until the end. He celebrated accordingly one of the greatest achievements of his young and successful career.
Abu Dhabi King of Mats – Crown Matches
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
November 2, 2019
The Abu Dhabi King of Mats series landed in Rio for a short, but important engagement. Three new kings were set to be crowned in three super matches, The day was November 2, 2019, day 2 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio and the three matches debuted a new and exciting rules set that turned advantages and penalties into points, making matches much more thrilling.
Leonardo Saggioro waited over a year to defend his crown. After winning the original ADKOM lightweight bracket, on April 2018, he was supposed to fight Paulo Miyao, but the opponent ended up being American Isaac Doederlein. The match was epic. In the first half, Doederlein imposed his game and built a 4-0 lead. When everything seemed lost for Saggioro, the reigning champion went on beast mode to sweep and take Doederlein's back. The match ended with a 7-5 lead in favor of Leonardo, who was able to remain as ADKOM lightweight crowned king.
Charles Negromonte and Isaque Bahiense met in Rio to fight for the crown. Negromonte held the honor of being the middleweight king for over a year, since April 2018. Bahiense got the chance to compete in Brazil after Gabriel Arges could not be present. The match was high paced and Isaque worked hard to build a 11-6 with strong guard passes. The middleweight division had a new King, Isaque Bahiense.
The heaviest division was bound to see a new champion crowned. João Gabriel Rocha and Jackson Sousa got their spot deservedly through hard work and skills. The match was a close one, with both competitors showing a lot of respect for each other. Jackson worked his game plan perfectly and managed to keep the match where he wanted until the very end. Once on the ground, he built a 8-6 lead to secure the title and become the new heavyweight king.
The Abu Dhabi King of Mats will return on the 2020/2021 season with bigger and better events. Stay tuned for more updates soon. For the latest news on the 2020/2021 season of the AJP Tour, go to ajptour.com. Follow daily updates on Instagram at @ajptour and @jjwplus.