ABU DHABI // For the second time in two years Rodolfo Vieira was the richest fighter to emerge from the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
The 22-year-old Brazilian retained both the 94kg and the absolute class crowns, to walk away with the biggest share of the Dh3.5 million on offer at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Vieira outclassed compatriot Roberto Alencar in the weight division and got the better of Andre Galvao, another Brazilian, to round off the championship with a US$150,000 (Dh550,980) winner's cheque in the final fight Saturday night.
"I always believed I can return with the two titles I won last year," Vieira said. "To win is never easy in any competition but I was very positive and determined to achieve what I achieved last year, and thank God, I did it."
Gabriella Garcia and Luanna Alzugair became the first fighters in the Abu Dhabi championship to win their weight divisions for the third time in a row.
Garcia went on to complete a double, winning the absolute class from Beatrice Mesquita in an all Brazilian final.
"It has been much tougher this year, not because of the competition but the long wait for the fights," said Garcia, a five-time world champion.
"I had six fights, and that was not a problem. But the problem was the lengthy wait for my next fight, particularly on the first day.
"It was past 1am when I reached the hotel and that's not good when you have to fight two finals in the next day.
"There were too many fights and too many weight divisions this year. I hope the organisers will take note of it and have a better programme drawn up next year. Besides that, this championship is the best in the world."
Garcia, who stands 1.87cm (6ft 2ins) tall and weighs 107kgs (236lbs), used her height and weight to outclass her opponents. She powered to victory over Maria Malyjasiak of Poland in the 72kg and over weight division.
"Of course I use my height and weight against all opponents," she said.
"When you have an advantage, why not use it? But jiu-jitsu is not all about the height and weight. It is techniques and skills as well."
Alzugair has similar plans to return next year for the championship as well as for seminars and coaching clinics.
"For sure, I want to return next year to defend my title," she said. "I have also received a few invites to make presentations, seminars and conduct coaching clinics. A lot of good things have happened to me this time.
"On the championship, it has been pretty good for me. I am so, so happy to win my weight division for the third time. It is never easy to win a championship for three years in a row. I hope I can make it four next year."
The biggest upset on the card was Michelle Nicolini's stunning victory over Kyra Gracie, the favourite, in another all-Brazil final in the 60kg category.
The Brazilian women won seven of the 10 finals in the black, purple and blue belts while their men made a clean sweep of the nine black belt categories.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE