Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles 2017

Confident And Calm: Nathiely de Jesus Goes For LA Grand Slam Gold

Confident And Calm: Nathiely de Jesus Goes For LA Grand Slam Gold

Nathiely de Jesus, 21, is one of the most talented black belts -- of either sex -- competing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles.

Sep 14, 2017 by Vitor Freitas
Confident And Calm: Nathiely de Jesus Goes For LA Grand Slam Gold
After winning the 2016-17 UAEJJF ranking, Nathiely de Jesus is not setting low expectations for her follow-up act.

The 21-year-old world champion black belt is motivated to continue her dominant streak at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles on Sept. 23-24. As one of the most talented black belts competing next week, de Jesus has her sights on capturing the gold medal and the prize money in the -90kg division at the Los Angeles Convention Center and -- of course -- the ranking prize.


"Nathi" finished atop last season's ranking in April with 1,540 total points and topped her closest rival, Luiza Monteiro, by 360 point-margin.

"The Grand Slam series of championships are important for all full-time athletes who live through jiu-jitsu, because they payout a good reward across all belts, and you've still got the ranking at the end [of the season]," de Jesus said. "I think it's an incentive for everyone. "

The young Cicero Costha team athlete, who stands 5-foot-10, took a moment to analyze the -90kg category in which she will likely face fellow standout black belt Claudia do Val, a familiar opponent.

"Well, I'm competing at -90kg even though I'm much lighter because I see no need to go down in weight since I'm tall and thin," de Jesus said. "It's a bit tricky dropping weight! So I would rather fight up a division and do well. Claudia is a very tough athlete. I really want to fight with her again. I think it will be a good match."

Nathiely de Jesus goes for a leglock at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Tokyo, July 2017. Photo: Hywel Teague / FloGrappling

While de Jesus is particularly known for her dangerous guard game and long legs, she's a well-rounded athlete and is conscious of working every area when in the gym.

"My game is stronger from bottom, but when I train I try to play more on top, as funny as it seems," she said. "I love to pass in the gym. I play more from top than bottom. And even if I don't pass, I try not to get swept."

However, the strategy changes back to her A-game when it's showtime.

"I evolved a lot in my last year of purple belt, but when I got the brown belt everything changed," de Jesus said. "I started to impose my game in competition and trust in myself more.

That was how I started making less mistakes, and even when I do mess up, I have the confidence and calmness to fix it in the middle of the match.


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