Abu Dhabi: UAE’s favourite Faisal Al Ketbi’s third attempt in a row to get his hands on to the elusive gold ended in disappointment again as he lost the 85kg black belt final to Rudson Mateus of Brazil in a close decision on the final day of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the Mubadala Arena on Friday.
A packed house backed Ketbi all the way but lady luck was once again not by his side as he lost the contest on referee’s decision after a 2-2 deadlock.
The Emirati also called for a review to check on a close call but that couldn’t entice the referees despite being vociferously supported by the home fans.
“I knew Faisal is a great competitor and a great guy representing the UAE. However, to get the win in front of a partisan crowd was special. Today was a good day for me,” said Mateus, who wants to carry the positives form this inspirational show into the Brazilian nations.
“I want to repeat this performance next week at the nationals. I had won gold in blue, purple, brown belt here before and to continue that run in the blackbelt is special for me,” added Mateus.
The UAE’s hopes of a gold on the final day also rested on the shoulders of Yahia Mansour Al Hammadi in the blackbelt 110kg but his Brazilian opponent and cancer survivor Joao Rocha was in a class of his own.
Rocha, who won seven fights en route to the final coming through the Brazilian qualifying round, forced Al Hammadi into submission after leading 4-0 in a contest that lasted three minutes and 39 seconds.
“Eight fights were like eight wars. Thanks to everyone around including my family. To comeback from cancer and to be a champion, I’m so proud of myself,” said a jubilant Rocha adding that he didn’t bother who the opponent was and just concentrated on the task at hand.
“I know he (Yahia) is very famous here but I played my game and attacked from the start. My game is so aggressive, I gave everything on the mat to get that medal,” revealed Rocha adding that he wants to carry this form into the World JJF in California.
In the 12 gold medal bouts that were scheduled for the evening, the Brazilians ruled the roost winning 11. In the only final that Brazil missed out on a gold medal, they didn’t have any representation.
The male blackbelt UAEJJF World Championship title was won by Brazil’s Joao Gabriel Batista De Sousa after he defeated compatriot Joao Miyao 2-1 on advantage points after a 2-2 deadlock.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling as less than one year in the blackbelt I couldn’t have imagined that I could become a world champion. I tried a lot of times before but didn’t get it and first time in blackbelt and I got it. I will be ready for next year for sure and this is just the beginning,” heralded a beaming De Souza, who in all accumulated 1,220 points.
Brazil’s 18-year-old sensation Gabrieli Pessanha capped her stunning season with a crushing win over Claire-France Thevenon of France by submission in just a minute and 19 seconds in the brown / backbelt 90kg. The victory also rewarded her with the World Champions in the blackbelt category with a grand total of 1,820 points.
“Yes the season has been amazing. I came here well prepared. I’m super happy to be the World No 1 and to compete here for the first time here and clinch gold is special,” said Pessanha, who also want to do well in the Brazilian Nationals.
“Nationals is important for us and I want to do well. I want to keep performing well and make it to the blackbelt. That’s the goal as of now.”