Absolute divisions in BJJ, for me, often conjure up the same type of drama and excitement of Pride's open class grand prix tournaments from back in the day (I'm talking Saku vs. Vovchanchyn from the 2000 Grand Prix, if you know what I mean). It's simply amazing when a truly skilled but smaller athlete can able to defeat larger, more powerful opponents. It also validates one of the principle concepts of our sport of BJJ (i.e., that leverage and the guard among other things can even the playing field).
Today's final in the absolute division of the Abu Dhabi World Pro pitted legendary featherweight, Rubens Charles aka Cobrinha against relative newcomer and heavyweight, Rodolfo Vieira. Vieira had tons of momentum coming to this event, having recently won both his weight-class and the open class at this year's Pan Jiu-Jitsu.
The match had all the makings of a the Jiu Jitsu version of Rocky 3 (or maybe Rocky 5, which I hardly remember). Cobrinhra was in Abu Dhabi coaching, but did not initially intend to compete. He was semi-retired from competition. At the last minute, he decided to compete and, in the Absolute, beat the 2010 winner, Claudio Calasans, to make it to the final.
Unfortunately, the gods of dramatic come-from-behind upset victories were no match for the powers of Rodolfo's game. He passed Cobrinha's guard and eventually scored the submission via choke (from mount). Not quite what I was hoping for, but Rodolfo seems pretty unbeatable right now. Still, Cobrinha says his experience at World Pro this week renewed his interest in competing and he'll be back for at least one more world title. Cobrinha!!
Here are the rest of the results from the finals at World Pro today:
- Absolute: Rodolfo Vieira def. Rubens Cobrinha
- Female – 65kg: Luanna Alzuguir def. Bia Mesquita
- Female + 65kg: Gabi Garcia def. Penny Thomas
- 65kg: Augusto “Tanquinho” def. Rafael Mendes
- 74kg: Leando “Lo” Nascimento def. Celsinho Venícius
- 83kg: Claudio Calasans def. Vinicius Corrales
- 92kg: Rodolfo Vieira def. Bruno Bastos
- +92kg: Lucio Lagarto def. Marcus Almeida “Bochecha”