What Happened At The Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship 2021?

13.04.2021 by

The 12th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship just concluded in the Jiu Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi. The event was marked as a 2020 championship and yet took place in 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After several postponements, though, the ADWPJJC finally managed to put together a world-class event that lasted for four days. 

How The ADWPJJC 2020 Defied All Odds By Completing A Flawless World-Scale Event

The Covid-19 pandemic really hit the competition world of Jiu Jitsu hard. Apart from certain super fights and invitation-only professional tournaments, in the past 12 months, we hardly saw any open-type tournaments. In that regard, the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu JItsu Championship was postponed several times, despite being the biggest and most anticipated event in global Jiu Jitsu.

This type of behavior by the people responsible for the ADWPJJC is something worth lots of praise. The UAEJJF, which is responsible for the event, tested out plenty of protocols in order to ensure the safety of the competitors, spectators and staff. They also decided to wait and allow more athletes to travel, rather than just hold the event prematurely. 

This patient approach definitely paid off. The event, originally scheduled for April 2020 took place a year later and managed to host not just professional BJJ athletes, but also masters competitors and youth competitors. The Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship lasted a total of four days, one day each allocated for the youth and masters divisions, and two days for the adult professional matches. 

With more than 1.000 matches across all divisions, the event proved a real success both in terms of the number and quality of matches it provided, as well as the complete scale of the event. Namely, very high-profile names were a part of the event, and all the protocols put in place to guarantee safety from the Covid-19 virus seem to have worked without a glitch.  

Youth Divisions Results And Summary (April 6, 2021)

The Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship 2020 kicked off with the youth divisions, featuring athletes aged 16 and 17. All of the competitors in the youth division of the ADWPJJC 2020 were blue belts. The 136 matches resulted in 16 gold, 16 silver, and 14 bronze medals, and showcased some highly interesting matches from the upcoming generations of Jiu JItsu superstars. 

In terms of country-by-country ranking, the United Arab Emirates were clearly dominant on the podium, either winning or medaling in every division. 

Masters Divisions Results And Summary (April 7, 2021)

The masters competitors took to the mats on day two of the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship 2020. Masters divisions include athletes that are aged over 30. In accordance with UAEJJF policy and the format of the ADWPJJC 2020, the rank of competitors in the masters divisions ranged from blue to black belt, in various weight divisions. 

The 338 matches held in the masters divisions took place on 7 mat areas. The result was 84 gold, 84 silver, and 59 bronze medals. 

Some of the most notable male competitor names on the podium were Paulo Miyao (gold in the 62kg division), Alan Do Nascimento (gold, 77 kg division), and Adam Wardzinski (gold, 94kg division). In the female brown/black belt division, Anna Carolina won gold in the 55kg division.

Professionals Adult Divisions Results And Summary (April 8-9, 2021)

The “meat and potatoes” of the event, the adult professionals divisions took two days of hard-fought matches, upsets, and some new names on the world champion podiums. Day 1 of the professional adult divisions (April 8) saw the blue and purple belts clash in a total of 298 matches across 7 mats. The second day was reserved for 294 brown and black belt matches. 

Adult blue belts

The male blue belts demonstrated the superiority of the UAE once again, with the most medals from these divisions of the Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship 2020 going to the Emirates. The situation was similarly dominant in favor of the UAE in the female blue belt divisions

Adult purple belts

Purple belt divisions provided a lot of impressive matches and managed to shine a light on some new exciting prospects that will surely dominate as they progress and mature through the sport. Among the male competitors, Brazil took the accolades for most medals in terms of country placement, with the UAE coming a close second in both the male and female divisions. 

Adult brown belts

Brazil was clearly dominant in the male brown belt divisions, losing out on just 1 gold medal in the 56kg division (won by Samat Aitpanbet from Kazakhstan). The man of the moment was Brazilian Micael Galvao, winner of the 77kg division and the man with the most submission victories among the brown belts.

The female brown belt divisions in the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship were joined with the black belt divisions. 

Adult black belts

Among the black belts, plenty of big-name BJJ stars made it to the Jiu Jitsu arena in Abu Dhabi. Across all divisions, the matches did not disappoint, with some major upsets really stirring up discussions about who the best in the world are. 

The 85kg division showed a lot of promise and it did not disappoint. All eyes were on Isaque Bahiense, who delivered by winning gold, beating the likes of Tommy Langaker and Nathan Mendelsohn along the way. 

It was Adam Wardzinski, though, who stole all the thunder. After winning the Masters 1 black belt 94 kg division a couple of days before, the Polish star came back to do the same in the adult division, getting his hand on his first-ever adult ADWPJJC medal. 

Among the big guys (120 kg division), Guttemberg Pereira won the gold medal with a highly impressive performance that started in the Brazilian qualifiers. 


The largest upset of the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship came in the 49 kg adult division of the female brown/black belt bracket. 22-year-old Brenda Larissa beat Mayassa Bastos in the finals via points (3-2) to claim her first-ever black belt world title. 

Bianca Basilio and Bia Mesquita, favorites in the 55kg, and 62 kg divisions justified the expectations. Mesquita was particularly dominant, with 5 submissions out of 7 matches to win her sixth ADWPJJC world title. 

Lessons Learned

The Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship was exactly the breath of fresh air the BJJ community needed at the moment. With lots of gyms closed around the world, this proved that Jiu Jitsu can be practiced safely even in the midst of a pandemic with the right set of preventative measures. The impressive performances of all the competitors involved also demonstrate that there’s a real hunger for Jiu Jitsu tournaments out there and that we’re in for a very bright future!

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