The Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championships returned from November 14-19, with the adult black belts wrapping up the action on the final day of the six day event. The World Pro is a true international event, as only two athletes per country are permitted to compete in the main bracket. Qualifying brackets took place before the main brackets to determine which athletes could represent their respective countries. The professional jiu-jitsu scene has been dominated by Brazilians, and the country’s best athletes came out in droves for this year’s World Pro. Consequently, the Brazilian qualifier brackets were extremely competitive on their own, resulting in only one non-Brazilian champion this year. Below are the 2021 World Pro champions by weight division.
Men’s 56 kg: Nathannael Fernandes
Men’s 62 kg: Diogo Reis
Men’s 69 kg: Pablo Lavaselli
Men’s 77 kg: Micael Galvao
Men’s 85 kg: Isaque Bahiense
Men’s 94 kg: Erich Munis
Men’s 120 kg: Gutemberg Pereira
Women’s 49 kg: Brenda Larissa
Women’s 55 kg: Anna Rodrigues
Women’s 62 kg: Beatriz Mesquita
Women’s 70 kg: Ingridd Sousa
Women’s 95 kg: Gabrieli Pessanha
Mica Galvao becomes youngest World Pro champ in history
The 77 kg division has historically been one of the toughest. This year’s bracket was no different, with 2018 World Pro champion Espen Mathiesen and 2019 European champion Levi Jones-Leary both in the mix. Despite the presence of these veteran black belts, it was Mica Galvao who came out on top. Prior to competing in the main bracket, he first entered the Brazilian qualifier. There he submitted two of three opponents, and beat brown belt IBJJF World champion Leo Lara in the semis. In the main bracket, Galvao advanced to the final after submitting Levi Jones-Leary with a triangle choke. Espen Mathiesen also had an amazing run in the 77 kg division, submitting two of three opponents before meeting Mica. Their match started with a double guard pull, with Mica eventually coming up and looking to pass. Espen did an excellent job of retaining his guard and started to attack Mica’s back with a berimbolo with about a minute left in the match. Mica countered with a tight straight foot lock and got the tap with 46 seconds left on the clock. With the win, Mica became the youngest black belt World Pro champion in history at just 18 years old.
Beatriz Mesquita wins 7th World Pro title
Although there were many new champions crowned at the 2021 World Pro, there was one familiar face in particular who put on one of the best performances of the tournament. Beatriz Mesquita of Gracie Humaita came into the tournament looking for her 7th world title. Bia submitted her first three opponents on her way to the final, where she would face Margot Ciccarelli of Unity Jiu-Jitsu. Since receiving her black belt in May 2021, Margot has competed regularly, and recently placed 2nd at the 2021 IBJJF Pan Ams. In the final, Bia pulled closed guard and quickly got to work. She sunk in a loop choke and got her fourth submission victory of the tournament and a 7th World Pro title in the process.
Pablo Lavaselli wins second title in new weight class
At the 2020 World Pro, Pablo Lavaselli won his first title in the 77 kg division. This time he dropped down to 69 kg in search of his second title. In the final he faced Israel Almeida, who won the 69 kg division in 2020. The match started with Lavaselli pulling guard and working to sweep. Almeida did his best to string together guard pass attempts, but Lavaselli’s flexibility and guard retention skills were on point. The sweep came with about one minute left in the match, and Lavaselli was able to hold on to secure a 2-0 points victory. With the win, Lavaselli not only secured his second World Pro title, but also became the only non-Brazilian champion in 2021.