3400 fans came to watch the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Rio de Janeiro, which is being held at a modern venue originally used during the Olympic Games.
Day 1 saw action from the purple and white belts. The level in the purple belts division was ridiculously high, with many divisions looking similar in talent to what you would expect from Worlds. Not only, but the brackets were huge: five or more matches were required to win gold.
Big names from major teams came out to compete, but there were more than a few surprise results. let’s go through some of the more memorable moments.
Brothers Anderson and Alex Munis win 94kg and 85kg gold
Two names who stand out for their achievements are the purple belt brothers Anderson and Alex Munis. These Nova Uniao grapplers train under Rodrigo Feijao in the south of Brazil. Anderson cleaned out the 94kg division, while Alex took gold in 85kg.
Anderson Munis. Photo: Vitor Freitas
Anderson is picking up an increasing amount of moment and does well under these rules; he won gold at the UAEJJF Abu Dhabi World Pro back in April, while Alex is a 2017 IBJJF Worlds silver medalist.
Mario Reis unleashes a new weapon
Not content with producing the young phenom black belt Nicholas Meregali, Mario Reis has given us Dionatan Santos, a dynamic and decisive 77kg grappler who tapped out the highly-rated Guitherry Barbosa with the same unusual triangle we saw Marcio Andre use at Euros earlier this year.
Dionatan Santos. Photo: Vitor Freitas
Santos had six matches to win gold, beating the well-known Italo Moura of Cicero Costha 4-2 along the way.
Pimenta subs 3 out of 4 for 110kg gold
GF Team ultra heavyweight Pedro Pimenta (aka 'Bombom') subbed everybody en route to the finals where he had his toughest match, beating Roosevelt Sousa by advantages. Pimenta took silver at Worlds, but with the 2017 champ Victor Hugo now up at brown look for Pimenta to roll over the competition throughout the rest of the season.
Thalison Soares. Photo: Vitor Freitas
Little Miyao wins again
With three submissions in four matches, Thalison Soares took another major title this year. Euros, Pans, Brazilian Nationals, Worlds, Abu Dhabi World Pro, Tokyo Grand Slam, and now the Rio Grand Slam too… is this kid unstoppable at purple belt?
Raul Basilio stretchered off the mat with a hip injury
Bianca Basilio’s younger brother Raul is a talent worth keeping an eye on, but the young Almeida JJ purple belt inured his sweep while defending a sweep and had to be stretchered off the mat. Wishing a fast recovery to him.
List of gold medalists
56kg – Thalison Soares (PSLPB Cicero Costha)
62kg – Lucas Emanuel (Cassão Team)
69kg – Daniel Junior (Soul Fighters)
77kg – Dionatan Santos (Alliance Mario Reis)
85kg – Alex Santos (Clube Feijão)
94kg – Anderson Munis (Clube Feijão)
110kg – Pedro Pimenta (GF Team)
49kg – Jessica Dantas (Caio Terra)
55kg – Andreza Sousa (Ares BJJ)
62kg – Janaina Menezes (SAS Team)
70kg – Melissa Cueto (Drill BJJ)
90kg – Raiane Santos (GB)