An unexpected turn of events at the inaugural KASAI Pro Lightweight Championship saw Brazilian firecracker Renato Canuto emerge as the winner in a stacked 8-man pack that featured standout talent including Garry Tonon, Mansher Khera and Gianni Grippo.
The 21-year-old – who marks just one year as a black belt on Dec 10. – defeated veteran Celso Vinicius in the final via split referee’s decision after overtime in a tumultuous contest.
Both Vinicius and Canuto came close to scoring via dynamic takedown attempts, with Canuto almost securing the back position on Vinicius in regulation.
Canuto’s high workrate and variety of attacks carried him to victory throughout the event. He had a total of four matches to be crowned champion: in the group stages he earned a draw against AJ in his opening match and then went on to beat Mansher Khera 10-0 and Garry Tonon 4-0.
Representing Zenith Jiu-Jitsu and training with Robert Drysdale in Las Vegas, Canuto was an outside pick to win the tournament stacked with experienced and dangerous grapplers. He is known for his crowd-pleasing style which combines big takedowns, acrobatic movements and sharp submission attacks.
Renato Canuto vs AJ Agazarm
Renato Canuto vs Mansher Khera
Renato Canuto vs Garry Tonon
FINAL: Renato Canuto vs Celso Vinicius