The 2023 European Jiu-Jitsu Championships kicked off 2023 in emphatic fashion as the best jiu-jitsu athletes in the world gathered in Paris, France to showcase their ever improving skills. With so many outstanding moments at the event, the stage has been set for one of the best years in the history of the sport. What made the tournament so special was the amount of submissions and dominating performances. Ten out of nineteen black belt finals were finished by submission and six black belts finished all their matches with submissions. The adult male and female double gold champions were Kaynan Duarte and Gabrieli Pessanha, who both put on arguably the best performances of their respective careers.
Kaynan Wins Double Gold With Fundamental Jiu-Jitsu And 7 Submissions
Coming off a spectacular 2022 that included World and Absolute GP titles, Kaynan Duarte jumped up in weight to start the new year at the Europeans. He conquered the super heavy and open class divisions in dominant fashion. The Atos athlete started his Euros campaign in the open class on Saturday January 28th. Kaynan finished his first open class opponent with a mounted cross choke and his second with a rear naked choke to advance to the semifinal.
The open class semifinal was against Mason Fowler of Brasa CTA, a 2022 Brazilian National Champion. Kaynan started the match in top position and about three minutes into the match, he nearly passed the guard, forcing Mason to turn and give his back. Kaynan maintained control of Mason’s back without the hooks and eventually locked in a body triangle and rear naked choke. The submission sent Kaynan to the open class final against Rider Zuchi.
Prior to the open class final, Kaynan took on the super heavy division on Sunday January 29th. In his quarter and semifinal matches, Kaynan needed short time to submit Thomas Bracher with an armbar from mount and Harryson Pereira with a choke from the back. The super heavy final was a rematch with Luis Cantareira, who Kaynan finished with a cross choke from mount in the opening round of the open class. This time Kaynan got to the mount again, but finished with an armbar as Luis bridged to escape. Going into the open class final against Rider Zuchi, Kaynan was six for six on submissions. Rider, who won the 2022 Brazilian Nationals, was also on a roll and had defeated Clay Mayfield, Seif-Eddine Houmine, and Bruno Lima to advance to the final. In the final Kaynan pulled guard, stood up on a single leg, and worked to pass the guard as he finished the sweep. As Rider defended the pass, Kaynan took the back, locked a body triangle, and finished his third rear naked choke of the Europeans to secure double gold and a 100% submission rate.
Throughout the event, Kaynan and his coach Andre Galvao made adjustments to the game plan and focused on fundamental techniques, a strategy that worked perfectly for the 2X World Champion and secured his first double gold of 2023. The Europeans open class title was also Kaynan’s first open class gold medal as a black belt at a major tournament. With the move to super heavy and the incredible performance, we could see Kaynan on top of many more open class podiums in 2023.
Gabrieli Finishes Every Opponent For 6th Straight Double Gold
Who can stop Gabrieli Pessanha? Since the 2021 Worlds, no black belt has been more dominant at the major championships. She started her campaign at the Europeans on Saturday January 28th in the open class, taking on World No-Gi Champion Elisabeth Clay in her first match. The first seven minutes of the match were competitive, as Gabrieli played guard and went for several submission attempts before landing a sweep. A guard pass led to a back take, where Gabrieli finished with a collar choke.
Her next match was the semifinal of the open class against 2022 Pan Champion Maria Malyjasiak. Two minutes into the match, Gabrieli set up an ankle lock from her guard that she used to transition to a toehold finish. The toehold set Gabrieli up for the open class and super heavy finals on Sunday January 29th.
In her only match at super heavy, Gabrieli submitted Claire-France Thevenon via rear naked choke after dominating positionally for the entire match. Up next was her open class final against Thalyta Silva of Dream Art. Thalyta, who defeated Leticia Cardozo and Luiza Monteiro to advance to the final, won her first major black belt title at the 2022 Europeans. Right from the beginning of the open class final, Gabrieli went on the attack. The end of the match came came after Gabrieli locked a triangle during a back take transition, finishing with the teepee variation of the choke. Gabrieli’s run at the 2023 Europeans was nothing short of spectacular and was one of her most dominant performances as a black belt. With her double gold medal performance in Paris, Gabrieli has now had six straight double golds at major championships.
Kaynan and Gabrieli’s performances at the 2023 Europeans were ones for the history books as they showcased their world class jiu-jitsu in one of the most competitive events of the year. If you missed any of Kaynan or Gabrieli’s matches at the 2023 Europeans, you can watch all the replays on flograppling.com.