Day One Divisionals at ADCC 2009

By Jordan Breen Sep 26, 2009
The 2009 edition of ADCC is now just about half over. Though there were a few notable upsets across the seven divisions, the final fours in each weight bracket are largely those that you would expect.

In the men's 99-kilogram-and-over category, 2007 divisional champion Fabricio Werdum was clinical, tapping Rogent Lloret with a kimura in the first round before beating Tomasz Janiszewski 3-0 on points to earn his spot on Sunday. BJJ legend Saulo Ribeiro -- typically an 88-kilogram competitor -- outpointed Koji Kanechika and Romulo Barral to advance, while 2005 divisional champ Jeff Monson did likewise, grounding Karol Bedorf and Janne-Pekka Peitilainen. Also advancing to Sunday was Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, who bested Tom DeBlass and Asa Fuller on points.

The 99-kilo division certainly offered the wildest results of any division on the day. While heavy divisional favorite Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro was positively dominant in outpointing Ilir Latifi and armbarring Radek Turek, 2003 ADCC absolute champion Dean Lister was upset by Glover Teixeira in the quarter-finals. The aggressive Lister took Teixeira's back three times before the points period, but quickly fatigued, allowing Teixeira to score during the last five minutes and take the win. Crazier still, "The Ultimate Fighter" veteran Vinicius Magalhaes flying armbarred Marcio Cruz in the quarter-finals to advance to Sunday. Rounding out the semi-finals is little-known Gerardi Rinaldi, who took out Yoshiyuki Nakanishi and Tomasz Szczerek on points.

The final foursome at 88 kilograms are all familiar faces. BJJ world champion and 2007 ADCC absolute bronze medalist Andre Galvao advanced with points wins over Kassim Annan and Chris Weidman, while David Avellan was stellar in heel hooking Trond Saksenvik before surprisingly choking out the stellar Tarsis Humphreys from the back crucifix. Braulio Estima earned his way to the semis by choking out Yuji Arai, and using an active, aggressive guard to take a referee's decision over James Brasco, and Rafael Lovato Jr. took points victories over Jorge Santiago and Tom Lawlor to advance.

In his quest to win an unprecedented fourth straight 77-kilo division title, Marcelo Garcia has been sterling so far. After guillotining Rodney Ellis in the opening round, Garcia launched a nip-and-tuck battle of technique with wunderkind Kron Gracie, son of Rickson. After heading into overtime following a scoreless 10 minutes, Garcia finally caught the young Gracie with his nasty guillotine, and took it all the way to the mount to force the tap. Sunday, Garcia will meet surprising semi-finalist Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura, who outpointed Milton Vieira before surviving a deep brabo choke from Marcelo Azevedo to win on points. Garcia's rival, Pablo Popovitch was stellar himself, quickly choking out Don Ortega before tapping U.S. Olympic wrestler Ben Askren in the blink of an eye. Popovitch will find his semi-final opposition from Gregor Gracie, who outpointed Murilo Santana and Leonardo Santos.

In perhaps the most top heavy and therefore least surprising division, Rani Yahya, Leo Vieira, Rubens Charles and Rafael Mendes comprise the 66-kilogram final four. The 2007 divisional champion Yahya rear naked choked Kohei Yasumi before outpointing Jeff Glover in a back-and-forth battle, while his rival Leo Vieira, the 2003 and 2005 divisional champ, guillotined David Marinakis before taking yet another guillotine over a fatiguing Ryan Hall after shutting down his inverted guard for the duration of their bout. Charles, the best gi BJJ competitor of the bunch, was solid even without the kimono, armbarring Hiroshi Nakamura before tapping Joel Tudor with a rear-naked choke in the quarter-finals. However, it was the lesser known Mendes who was arguably the best of the four on Saturday, triangling Jayson Patino before hitting a slick anaconda choke on Justin Rader to punch his ticket to Sunday.

The women's 60-kilograms-and-over category went mostly as planned, with one exception. Former ADCC champ Penny Thomas outpointed Shanti Abelha while budding MMA star Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos racked up points in overtime over Ida Hansson. Reigning divisional and absolute champion Hannette Staack Quadros methodically coaxed an armbar out of Hitomi Akano. However, former Olympic judoka and Greco-Roman wrestler (yes, she was both) Rosangela Conceicao avenged her 2007 loss to 210-pound Mundials champion Lana Stefanac, after taking a referee's decision in a slow bout fought virtually entirely on the feet, save for a brief moment in which Conceicao got Stefanac's knee on the mat, but failed to finish the takedown cleanly.

In the women's 60-kilograms and under, quality grappling helped mitigate the absence of 2007 champ Kyra Gracie, who pulled out this week due to a back injury. New divisional favorite Luanna Alzuguir, who defeated Gracie at the Mundials, guillotined Ina Steffensen, while Laurence Cousin outhustled Ana Michelle Tavares with an active guard and sweep game to win on points. 2007 under-55-kilogram champ Sayaka Shioda replicated her win from two years ago over Bianca Andrade, winning on points, while Shioda's senpai, female MMA star Megumi Fujii, was submitted by Hillary Williams after a brilliant transition to the back and a lightning-fast rear-naked choke.
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