ADWPJJC: Felipe Andrew, Gabrieli Pessanha, and all the Heroes who conquered the title belts in Abu Dhabi

November 10, 2023

The heroes have risen! This Friday, November 10th, the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship held its tenth and final day, after over a week of high-octane action in the most famous stage of the sport, the modern Mubadala Arena. Celebrating 15 years of the tournament, the very best athletes of the competitive scene climbed the AJP mats one last time, this time to take the biggest prize of all: the title of ADWPJJC champion.

But the path to the title was by no means an easy one. Whether it was the men's black belt or the women's brown/black belt category, the competitors were relentless as they fought for gold and glory in the capital of Jiu-Jitu.

Among the great warriors that took to the mats, Fellipe Andrew made waves as he locked a toe hold to become a two-time ADWPJJC champion, Portuguese dark horses Pedro Ramalho and Bruno Lima took the gold by beating Lucas Protasio and Uanderson Ferreira respectively, and Gabrieli Pessanha used a straight footlock to take her fifth consecutive title at the tournament.

Check out how each final went down and which athletes became Heroes in Abu Dhabi!

Men’s Gi / Professional / Black Belt 

56kg – Yuri Hendrex vs. Zayed Alkhateeri

Brazilian Yuri Hendrex reached the highest place on the podium in a strategic battle against Emirati Zayed Alkhateeri. After the double pull, while Zayed constantly spun to go up, Yuri seized the opportunity to attack on the foot. Zayed responded with his own attack, but Yuri went up with the footlock, landing the scoreboard at 3-0. Zayed made a good attempt at another foot attack and even gained a point for his efforts, but Yuri controlled the remainder of the fight and took the 56kg division title belt.

62kg - Meyram Maquine Alves vs. Khaled Alshehi

Meyram became a two-time ADWPJJC champion after a very technical final against UAE's Khaled Alshehi. After going up from the double pull, Meyram took the lead on the score by 1-0 and exerted his control while on top. Putting his weight on Khaled's lasso guard, Meyram sought a gap in his opponent's defense, but Khaled managed to keep the Brazilian at bay. In the final moments of the match, Khaled tried a dangerous spin to lock his guard with a one-leg, but Meyram steadied himself and held the score to take the gold.

69kg – Raimundo Diego Sodré vs. Sebastian Serpa

Diego Sodré returned to the top of the podium at the ADWPJJC in the 69kg division. To defend his title belt, Diego faced the American Sebastian Serpa, who started behind on the scoreboard when he saw Diego pull guard and move up in a quick move. After controlling well on top, Diego found an opening and attempted a back take. Sebastian defended well and spun to face his opponent, but Diego still got a point for the dangerous attack, closing the score at 3-0 to take the win.

77kg - Pedro Ramalho vs. Lucas Protasio

Portuguese athlete Pedro "Paquito" Ramalho achieved greatness in Abu Dhabi after a tough duel against the ADWPJJC 2022 champion Lucas Protasio. Playing underneath, Pedro made a good attack on the spider guard, unbalancing Lucas. The Brazilian attempted a pass but brought no danger to Pedro's guard, and the Portuguese took the title via the referee's decision.

85kg - Bruno Lima vs. Uanderson Ferreira

After a powerful performance in the semifinal, which ended in a quick submission, the favorite Uanderson Ferreira saw the victory slip through his fingers in the final against the Portuguese underdog Bruno Lima. The fight started in a standing position, but Bruno quickly attempted a pull while Uanderson sought to advance in the half-guard. When the fighters split, Uanderson attacked with a flying armbar, but Bruno went above and beyond, avoiding the submission and promptly slipping to his opponent's back. Without the hooks in place, Bruno then went up and gained three points, one for almost completely taking the back and two for the sweep. Bruno then managed to stop Uanderson's advances and received a penalty for lack of combativeness, which put the scoreboard at 3-1, but Uanderson controlled his opponent's leg and went up, tying the score. Things were looking up for Uanderson, but Bruno readied a sweep from the half-guard and then passed the guard, putting the scoreboard at 8-3 and bringing another win to Portugal.

94kg - Fellipe Andrew vs. Renan Cruz

With another win in his resumé, Fellipe Andrew secured his second ADWPJJC title in a row, in two different divisions. After reigning over the 85kg division last year, Fellipe returned to Abu Dhabi, went through the Country Qualifier, and reached the 94kg final. His opponent, the rookie black belt Renan Cruz worked well from below, closing his half-guard to try and sweep Fellipe. During the transition attempt, Fellipe saw Renan's unprotected foot and went in for the toe hold, submitting to take the win and another title belt. 

120kg - Felipe Bezerra vs. Anton Seleznev

After winning the Master 1 120kg title, Felipe Bezerra threw himself into the professional division hungry for another gold medal, taking down last year's champion Yatan Bueno in the semifinal to face the Russian Anton Seleznev, a black belt graduated by the late Leandro Lo. After receiving a penalty for walking backward, Anton fell to a beautiful foot sweep takedown from Felipe. Another double penalty from lack of combativeness ensued, Anton's second one, Felipe shot up in the scoreboard with a 5-2, taking his second title in the same week.

Women's Gi / Professional / Brown/Black Belt

49kg – Mayssa Bastos vs. Margarita Ochoa

Mayssa had complete control in her final match against Margarita Ochoa for the 49kg division title belt. After pulling and sweeping, Mayssa used speed and precision to pass the guard and put her knee to the stomach. After mounting and attacking with the cross choke, Mayssa returned to side control and attacked the arm, spinning into a shoulder lock, also known as "baratoplata". Margarita tried to defend, but the triple tap came soon after, giving the win to the Brazilian from AOJ.

55kg - Anna Rodrigues vs. Alexa Yanes

Another ADWPJJC title for Anna Rodrigues. In the duel against the American Alexa Yanes, Anna rose from the double pull and took four points in a row for almost passing her opponent's guard. With 5-0 on the scoreboard, Ana used her experience to control the match and took the gold.

62kg - Julia Alves vs. Violeta Angelova

Ending a season filled with titles on a high note, Julia Alves made quick work of Violeta Angelova. After pulling guard, Julia quickly transitioned to a triangle choke, switched again to an armbar, and gave Violeta no chance to defend herself, who fell victim to a submission 30 seconds into the match.

70kg - Ingridd Alves vs. Nia Blackman

After beating her teammate Izadora Silva in the semifinals of the 70kg division, Ingridd reached the gold round with her sights set on the title. However, her opponent Nia Blackman had other plans and started ahead on the scoreboard, going up from the double pull while defending herself from a footlock. While she gained no points for the attack, Ingridd managed to go up and turn the tables on her opponent, taking the lead by a 2-1. Nia attempted an attack on the leg, but Ingridd spun to the opposite side, stabilized herself on top, and ended the match ahead on the scoreboard to take the win.

95kg - Gabrieli Pessanha vs. Yara Soares Nascimento

Gabi Pessanha reached her fifth title in the ADWPJJC elite. Her opponent and old rival Yara Soares started ahead on the scoreboard when she came up from the double pull. Gabi calmly sought an attack on the foot while Yara defended herself, but the former eventually found the right angle to attack, landing a straight footlock and adding another title to her name. With this victory, Gabi cemented her hegemony in Abu Dhabi, with five consecutive titles in the brown/black category.