Abu Dhabi: Brazilian fighter Jose Lima consolidated his position in the World Ranking by clinching the title in the men’s black belt 56kg Jiu-Jitsu division at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam that concluded at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday.
Lima had been involved in a tooth-and-nail battle all season with compatriot Jorge Nakamura, but the duo didn’t clash in the final here. Lima, holding a 60-point lead in the World Ranking, met Massaki Todoroko in the summit clash after the latter ended Nakamura’s hopes of progressing into the title clash with 5-2 win in semis.
In the finals, Lima was stretched by Todoroko but the former eventually brought all his experience into play to win the contest on points 8-6. With this victory, Lima has secured his stand in the top 10 South American black belt rankings. The bronze was grabbed by Nakamura after edging out Japan’s Joao Carlos Kuraoka 3-2 on points.
In the 77kg male black belt category, firm favourite Lachlan Giles from Australia was shocked by Flavio Vianna of Brazil on 3-0 advantage points.
The Brazilian was simply on a roll en route to the finals taming some of best fighters in the category and the ecstatic Vianna celebrated his win with a roar.
“I had to give everything against Giles, he is a strong opponent you see,” said a beaming Vianna still gasping for breath.
“I have been here last year but this has been my best performance. I had won a bronze in the No Gi and I’m thrilled to go all the way this time round,” added Vianna, who had stunned another Aussie Burak Sarman in the last four.
Though UAE’s ace female fighter Maha Al Hannai failed to be on the podium on in her maiden debut in the purple belt adult division competing in the 70kg, from her usual 55kg, her sisters Mahra and Hana were on the money in their respective categories.
Mahra won gold in the juvenile blue belt 57 kg while Hana won gold in the teen yellow 45 kg.
“I’m very happy to have clinched the title but for Mahra it was tough as she was competing on a heavier weight category and it was her first time in adult purple. Thankfully, me and Hana went on to win in front of home fans and that’s a great feeling,” said a jubilant Mahra proudly sporting her gold.
In the Male Black Master 1 110kg final, Brazilian Ricardo Evangelista, who was out of action for most part of last year with a shoulder injury, came back strongly to clinch his second grand slam gold after the success at Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro. Evangelista defeated compatriot Nei Nascimento Júnior by submission.
“The plan is to prepare for the Grand Slam London in March and the Abu Dhabi World Pro in April. After that I have to do a shoulder surgery which I have been avoiding for a while to continue competing,” said Evangelista.