Brazil’s most prestigious tournament returned this past weekend as many of the sport’s best black belts competed in Sao Paulo for the 2022 Brazilian Nationals. Some competitors were looking to qualify for the World Championships while others were seeking another major title for the season. The following are some of the main story lines from the historic event.
Gabrieli Pessanha Makes History with Double Grand Slam
InFight JJ’s Gabrieli Pessanha came into the Brazilian Nationals with a lot of momentum, having won double gold at the 2021 Worlds, the 2022 Europeans, and the 2022 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships. She was able to replicate that feat at the 2022 Brazilian Nationals, where she won two fights at super heavy and another two fights in the open. In the super heavy final, Gabrieli faced Claire-France Thevenon, a fight she won by choke from the mount after controlling the pace from the start. The open class final was against World champion Fernanda Mazzelli. Gabrieli swept, passed, and mounted before securing a choke from the back. With the victories and two gold medals, Gabrieli became the first ever black belt in history to win the Double Grand Slam in a single season, a truly remarkable accomplishment for an athlete that still has a very bright future in the sport.
Submission Spree in Sao Paulo Including 11 Submissions in the Black Belt Finals
There were plenty of exciting and action-packed matches at this year’s Brazilian Nationals, but what really stood out were the number of submissions. In the black belt finals alone there were eleven submissions out of nineteen fights, a rate of nearly 58%. Mason Fowler of Caio Terra Association had three matches in the ultra-heavy division and won all of them by submission. He submitted Gutemberg Pereira, Herico Hesley, and Pedro Alex all via choke from the back. Mason’s gold was only the 4th ever by an American at Brazilian Nationals. Nicholas Meregali of Dream Art also finished all his fights by submission. Nicholas finished Marcos Carrozzino via choke from the back, Marcus “Scooby” via loop choke, and Fellipe Andrew via choke from the back. In the open class, Gutemberg Pereira submitted all four of his opponents. In the open class final, Gutemberg faced Marcus “Scooby” of Alliance. He secured a head and arm choke after sweeping, passing, and getting to the mount position. The win gave Gutemberg his first Brazilian National gold medal.
Mica Galvao Wins First Major Black Belt Title and Qualifies for Worlds
Expectations have been high for Mica Galvao since he was a juvenile competing in local tournaments in Brazil. Despite a successful black belt debut in Curitiba, Mica needed more points to qualify for the 2022 World Championships. He competed in the middleweight division and dominated all his matches. His first match was against Alexandre Cavalieri of Nova Uniao. He racked up fourteen points before locking a reverse triangle. Cavalieri went out of bounds while the triangle was locked and was disqualified. Mica’s second match was against 2021 Brazilian National silver medalist Wallisson Oliveira. He finished Wallisson with a choke from the back after going up 8-2. The semi-final was a finish via reverse triangle against Pedro Maia. In the middleweight final, Mica faced Servio Tulio, a Gracie Barra black belt under Felipe Pena. Mica swept from closed guard straight into the mount and caught Servio in an armbar as he tried to escape. The gold medal was Mica’s first major title as a black belt and gave him the points necessary to compete at the World Championships in June.
Mayssa and Nathalie Win Another Gold in Grand Slam Race
Mayssa Bastos of Unity Jiu-Jitsu and Nathalie Ribeiro of CheckMat have had incredible 2022 seasons thus far, winning gold at Europeans and Pans to start the year. Both athletes were vocal about wanting the 2022 grand slam and made the trip to Sao Paulo in search of their third gold medals at major championships this year. Mayssa, who prior to this year had never won Brazilian Nationals as a black belt, won her first match 11-0. In the final she faced Mariana Rolszt of Gracie Humaita and submitted her with a choke from the back. In her very first Brazilian Nationals, Nathalie Ribeiro won the lightweight division after two fights. She won her first match by armbar and defeated Vitoria Viera of GF Team in the final after scoring a pair of sweeps to go up 4-0. Both Nathalie and Mayssa will be in Long Beach at the Walter Pyramid in June looking for the final gold medal needed for the 2022 grand slam.
Fight Sports Brazil Takes Home Four Gold Medals
The Fight Sports Brazil team, led by Professor Melqui Galvao, brought their best black belt competitors to the Brazilian Nationals. The team ended the day with four black belt gold medals, the most of any single team of the event. Brenda Larissa won the light-feather division after submitting her opponent with a choke from the back in the final. Diogo Reis won the male light-feather division. He faced 2019 Brazilian National champion Cleber Sousa in the final, where he won by a score of 8-0. Fabricio Andrey won his second Brazilian National title in a row, defeating Kennedy Maciel of Alliance in the final. Mica Galvao brought home the fourth gold for Fight Sports Brazil, submitting Servio Tulio in the middleweight final.