The past week saw the Jiu Jitsu world turn its attention to Abu Dhabi for the UAEJJF World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship. The event saw reputations continue to grow as Kaynan Duarte continued his extraordinary run and submitted Adam Wardzinski in impressive fashion. New stars were born as Gracie Barra’s Oliver Lovell surprised the world as he submitted current Pan and European champion Levi Jones-Leary with an excellent kneebar. It can also be said the event was evidence of the growth of Jiu Jitsu around the world, especially in the European Continent, with Europe providing many of the medallists in the brown and black divisions.
It is in the Female brown/black belt divisions which saw the European Contingent make its biggest mark with medallists across all the weight divisions.
u49kg -Serena Gabrielle - 🇮🇹 - Bronze
u55kg - Amal Amjahid - 🇧🇪 - Silver
u62kg- Ffion Davies - 🇬🇧 - Silver
u70kg - Samantha Cook - 🇬🇧- Bronze
u90kg - Claire France Thevenon - 🇫🇷 - Silver
Ffion Davies put on an impressive show submitting both her opponents, until the final where he run was stopped by the incredible Bea Mesquita. Kingz athlete Amal Amjahid is a previous champion at the World Pro, but was judge edged out by Bia Basilio who herself is a previous world pro champion. We also saw some first-time world pro medallists in the black belt divisions with France’s Claire France Thevenon taking silver along with the UKs Samantha Cook taking bronze in two solid performances.
In the men’s divisions we saw one of the biggest upsets of the competition where the UK’s Oliver Lovell submitted Unity Jiu Jitsu’s European and Pan champions Levi Jones-Leary with a brutal kneebar in the u77kg division. He would then follow that on with a close win over Irish standout Darragh O’Conaill and fellow Brit Bradley Hill to get to the finals.
It was in the u77kg division where Europe got their only black belt champion, Norwegian Tommy Langaker had a dominant run to the finals where he would submit Lovell in a very impressive performance, and both would make history as it was the first black belt finals contested by two European athletes. The u77kg stays in Norway in Haugesund as it was conquered by Espen Mathiesen, Tommy’s teammate last year. Rounding off the medals won by European Male black belts is a bronze won by Germany’s Jan Basso in the stacked u69kg division and another silver medal from Poland’s Adam Wardzinski.
A quick look at the Brown belt division suggests that we may see even more successes in the black belt division in the future from
European athletes. Portugal’s Guilherme Jardim took gold in the u110kg division while in the u62kg division Kingz athlete Huseyn Abaszada also took gold, along with these successes there were multiple bronzes and silvers won by European athletes, further showing the growth of European Jiu Jitsu. It seems the future of European Jiu Jitsu is bright, with more and more athletes competing and medalling at the big competitions, and current black belts always in the mix!