The Abu Dhabi World Pro Qualifications Wrapped Up Last Week

The NY Trials winners via Bruno Malfacine's Twitter. He is third from right, holding up his medal and beaming.

With the completion of the San Diego trials and the New York trials last week, the qualifiers for the 2012 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup are set. The actual tournament begins Thursday, April 12th in Abu Dhabi and runs for three days as elite grappling competitors compete to see who gets the cash prize, the fame and the respect.

Andre Galvao wins the 183 lb division and a trip to Abu Dhabi
for the World Pro by beating Clark Gracie in a fierce, controversial match.

The Brazilian jiu jitsu scene has tons of tournaments going on here and there, but only a select few really have the world stage to showcase stars and only a smaller subset of those tournaments offer cash prizes to the medalists. The tournaments people recognize as being traditionally important usually do not give money to the winners, so entering the Pan Ams or the Mundials, run by the IBJJF, is essentially a labor of love. Hundreds or thousands of hours are spent training, bodies are pushed to their physical limits and time is taken from other, more immediately profitable pursuits. The fame of winning the Mundials can and usually does transfer over into seminars, private lessons, DVDs and larger home academies, but for the dozens of competitors who do not win or cannot work a world title into a lucrative seminar circuit, what happens?

They go to where the prize money is and work to win those tournaments.

Hit the jump for the full results of the San Diego Trials and the New York Trials, as well as some background on the World Pro and the submission grappling scene.

There have been other tournaments that offered cash prizes in the past - the CBJJO even caused massive fractures in dominant competition teams that still resonate today - but the biggest mostly faded away after a big initial splash, while the smaller tournaments trundled along in near obscurity. However, the Abu Dhabi World Pro has only built momentum and a truly staggering roster of competitors and champions after instantaneously catapulting to the top of the sport in 2009.

Having the backing of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is a significant point to note. The immense pockets of the UAE grappling enthusiasts affords the World Pro organization considerable resources that are flat out not attainable for other tournaments and organizations, yet it seems that the scale of participation and depth of competition may allow this organization to last and truly change the competitive landscape in submission grappling. It is also worth noting that the backers and directors of the World Pro are different from the ADCC backers and directors - although both are closely linked.

In a way, the World Pro has weakened the draw for the bigger IBJJF tournaments, as many top of the line competitors are now passing up the European Opens, the Chicago Opens and even the Pan Ams to train for and compete in the World Pro Trials or the World Pro itself. The Mundials are still the most prestigious, but with the financial sirens of MMA, ADCCs and the World Pro, the IBJJF as a whole may be feeling pressure to change its tournament model.

In the next few years, the competitive landscape of submission grappling is going to see the big organizations make their decision regarding cash prizes. The resulting fallout is going to make and break some interesting figures and teams in that landscape. We will always have Rio and the Brazilian Nacionals though.

The following is as near as I can tell, the most complete list of World Pro competitors at the top level:

San Diego (U.S.) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - The results say Laercio Fernandes, but the qualifier might be Guilherme Mendes, since Gui actually won the match in the finals. Maybe he's already in and Laercio gets the spot. I don't know at this point.

163 lbs - Zak Maxwell

183lbs - Andre Galvao

202 lbs - Alexandre Ribeiro

Over 202 lbs - Marcel Fortuna

Women's Purple/Brown/Black Belts

Light (Below 139 lbs) - Angelica Galvao

Heavy (Over 139 lbs) - Emily Wetzel

New York (U.S.) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Bruno Malfacine

163 lbs - Lucas Lepri

183 lbs - Lucas Leite

202 lbs - Roberto "Tussa" Alencar

Over 202 lbs - Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu

Women's Purple/Brown/Black Belts

Light - Vianca Jager

Heavy - Valerie Worthington

Gramado (Brazil) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Isaque Paiva

163 lbs - Davi Ramos

183 lbs - Victor Bonfim

202 lbs - Alexandre de Sousa

Over 202 lbs - Marcus Almeida

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Luana Alzuguir

Heavy: Fernanda Mazzeli

London (U.K.) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Maximiliano Campos

163 lbs - Pedro Bessa

183 lbs - Mathias Ribeiro

202 lbs - Nilton Garcia

Over 202lbs - Chris Bowe

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Yasmine Wilson

Lisbon (Portugal) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Jedrzej Loska

163 lbs - Maxime Olivier

183 lbs - Luca Anacoreta

202 lbs - Marcelo Bernardo

Over 202 lbs - Valdimiro Afonso

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Kristin Doeblin

Heavy: Shanti Abelha

Montreal (Canada) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Wellington Dias

163 lbs - J.T. Torres

183 lbs - D.J. Jackson

202 lbs - Jimmy Harbison

Over 202 lbs - Pete Roberts

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light - Mackenzie Dern

Heavy - Allison Tremblay

Helsinki (Finland) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

183 lbs - Martin Aedma

202 lbs - Tero Pyylampi

Over 202 lbs - Janne Autio

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Patricia Kazimierczak

Heavy: Venla Luukkonen

Sydney (Australia) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - David Marinakis

163 lbs - Thiago Braga

183 lbs - Kit Dale

202 lbs - Neil Owen

Over 202 lbs - Michael Wilson

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Sunny Munn

Heavy: Maren Frerichs

Cape Town (South Africa) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

202 lbs - Emyr Sanzel

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Heavy: Penny Thomas

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143 lbs - Gabriel Wilcox

163 lbs - Vinicius Marinho

183 lbs - Adriano Silva

202 lbs - Rodolfo Vieira

Over 202 lbs - Ricardo Evangelista

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Jessica Santos

Heavy: Gabrielle Garcia

San Antonio (U.S.) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

Men's Absolute winner: Rafael Lovato Jr.

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Women's Absolute winner: Sijara Eubanks

Auckland (New Zealand) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts:

143lbs - Carlos Viera

202lbs - Andrew Dearsley

Men's Absolute winner: Alex Scott (actually came in 2nd to Carlos Viera above)

Women's Absolute winner: Kate Aroa

Warsaw (Poland) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts:

143lbs - Daniel Wrzesniewski

163lbs - Maciej Polok

183lbs - Eduardo "Teta" Rios

202lbs - Oliver Geddes

Over 2012 lbs - Alexander Trans

Female Light: Jani Larsson

Female Heavy: Monica Silva

Tokyo (Japan) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143lbs - Kataniwara Katsunori

163lbs - Roberto Souza

183lbs - Marco Souza

202lbs - Toshio Fernando Tsushima

Over 202lbs - Karim Byron

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light: Shioda Sayaka

Heavy: Kodera Katsura

Natal (Brazil) Qualifiers:

Men's Brown and Black Belts

143lbs - Thiago Barreto

163lbs - Leandro Lo Pereira

183lbs - Bruno Alves

202lbs - Caio Magalhaes

Over 202lbs - Antonio Carlos

Women's Purple/Brown/Black

Light - Marina Ribeiro

Heavy - Luiza Monteiro

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