By Michael Sears
The United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) is holding its fifth and final Grand Slam of the 2017-18 season this weekend in London, the last major event before the World Pro.
Over $125,000 in cash prizes is up for grabs along with up to 200 points toward the rankings in the race for the end-of-season cash prizes. Some of the sport’s biggest names are converging on London for this event — here is an idea of a few athletes to look out for this Saturday and Sunday.
Watch the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London LIVE or On Demand — every mat, every match — ONLY on FloGrappling.
PSLPB Cicero Costha – 69kg
The 2015 IBJJF world champion and current ACB 65kg champion should be a heavy favorite to win the 69kg bracket in London.
The 26-year-old New York-based athlete is 9-0 in 2018 and has not lost a weight category match in the gi since losing to Marcio Andre at the 2016 UAEJJF World Pro.
Paulo has accumulated 340 points in the 2017-18 UAEJJF season, with gold medals at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and North America Continental Pro.
Alliance – 85kg
The Alliance Sao Paulo representative has amassed an incredible 67-9 record in a short black belt career and a 15-1 run so far in 2018 that includes a first-place finish at the IBJJF European Championships.
The scrappy, young black belt has defeated athletes such as Romulo Barral, Otavio Sousa, Roberto Satoshi, Celso Vinicius, Lucas Barbosa, and Renato Canuto along the way. Bahiense currently has 700 points this season, with gold medals at the Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro Grand Slams and the South America Continental Pro.
Isaque’s lone loss this year came in the finals of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam to Charles Negromonte, and he will have a chance to avenge that defeat, as both athletes are registered in the 85kg division for London.
WATCH: Isaque Bahiense vs. Thiago Sa, 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio
GF Team – 77kg
Closed guard specialist Jaime Canuto had a breakout year in 2017, winning IBJJF Brazilian Nationals and taking third at both Worlds and Europeans.
Training out of the GFT headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Canuto has 560 points in the current UAEJJF season. Earning a bronze medal at the Rio Grand Slam and silver at the Tokyo Grand Slam, Canuto recently won double gold at the UAEJJF Switzerland National Pro, defeating Checkmat’s Adam Wardzinski in the absolute final.
Checkmat – 94kg
Rio de Janeiro raised but London based, Jackson Souza will fight on his home turf at the London Grand Slam.
The two-time European champion and 2016 Worlds silver medalist took third at this event a year ago. At the 2018 European Championships, Souza went down in the semifinal to Helton Jose Junior of Cicero Costha, who is also registered in the 94kg division.
The 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London takes place March 10-11 and is streaming LIVE or On Demand ONLY on FloGrappling.