Capital Challenge International, Amman, Jordan, December 19th and 20th, 2008
Overview of the black belt final matches
Braulio Estima was the man of the tournament held at the Emile I. Habbad Gymnasium in the suburb of Abdoum, a short yet hair raising taxi ride away from the Grand Hyatt Amman Hotel on Hussein Bin Ali Street, Amman.
Not many people can earn $10, 000 or even $20, 000 in less than an hour, yet for Gracie Barra team mates Lucio ‘Lagarto’ Rodrigues and Braulio ‘Cacara’ Estima, it was as easy as a walk in the park. Both athletes were the favourites for their respective divisions and most people had the smart money on Estima to walk away with the main prize money in the Absolute division.
Alliance member won his first match via a choke and Braulio takes his first match with a head/arm triangle submission; in round two Leite takes a point’s win over Fabricio Werdum and Braulio takes a referee’s decision, taking both men into the semi finals. Leo Leite takes out Brasa member Igor Silva with a choke and Estima takes a hard earned referees decision over Alliance member Gabriel Vella, who was tagged with the ‘Greatest return to competition’ accolade from Gracie Magazine for 2008.
This set the standard for the final fight, which had all fighters and coaches and fans split into two camps, none however giving any fighter a walkover to take the prize – this was gonna be a war!
The second day of the competition saw both fighters fight in their respective weight brackets before stepping up for the Absolute; overnight the gymnasium was transformed into a state of the art sound and vision spectacular, with fighters competing on a raised platform and coming onto the fighting arena through an arch way, together with pyrotechnics and razzamatazz normally seen at NBA matches. One thing for sure, the mainly Jordanian crowd know how to stir up an incredible atmosphere, albeit with a little help from the local military band that was on hand, drums, bagpipes and instruments galore which further added to the excitement.
After expending energy in earlier fights, both fighters started out cautiously checking each other out in grip battles and takedown attempts; at one point Leite attacked the neck of Estima with a forearm choke, that had the Recife native on the defensive, yet managing to weather the storm and in the dying seconds, Estima mounted an arm attack from the closed guard and was in sight of a submission win, when the whistle blew to end the fight. Braulio had won the match 2-0 by penalties and was now another $10,000 better off.
In the +99K division, the giant Charles Cachoeira took the first place with a win over another giant, Alliance member Gabriel Vella in a points victory leaving Leo Leite to collect third place – a double pay day for the Alliance member.
Overcoming serious health problems earlier in the year, Lucio ‘Lagarto’ Rodrigues announced his return to form by winning the -99K bracket, with wins over Tiago Pereira (choke) and proving too much for the knee of Brasa member Igor Silva, who blew his joint out, defending a guard pass.
Man of the tournament Braulio Estima and fellow team mate Otavio de Souza took first and second place respectively in the -88K bracket with an arm bar win for Estima, whilst Estima took a rear choke win over Edmilson Conceicao in the earlier stages.
In the -77K bracket it was the turn of Alliance members Sergio Moraes and Michael Langhi to take first and second place with an easy triangle submission win for Langhi, leaving Berbosa member Adriano Silva to collect third place.
In the finals of the -70K division Rubens Charles ‘Cobrinha’ wowed the crowd with a thrilling match of technical excellence with a points win over Rafael Mendes, securing a 5-2 win with a guard pass near the end of the time limit.
Last and by no means least, history was created in the shape of the first ever female black belt finals match ever hosted within the Middle East, where Kyra Gracie and Caroline DeLazzer (Gracie Sul) took to the centre stage and showed the men that the ladies can hang out with the best of ‘em.
In a thrilling edge-of-your-seat match, that saw Kyra looking for the omoplata submission towards the end of the match, DeLazzer lost the match by a whisker, losing 4-3 on points in an electrifying fight from start to finish.
All winners collected their cut glass trophies and collected the spoils of war from event organiser Zaid Mirza, who left the event $150,000 out of pocket, yet content in the knowledge of hosting this year’s best BJJ tournament bar none, in terms of event management and raising the bar for future large scale BJJ events way way up high.
1 Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra)
2 Leo Leite (Alliance)
3 Gabriel Vella (Alliance)
3 Igor Silva (Brasa)
1 Charles Cachoeira (Gracie Sul)
2 Gabriel Vella
3 Leo Leite
1 Lucio Rodrigues (Gracie Barra)
2 Igor Silva
3 Francisco Santoro
1 Braulio Estima
2 Otavio Souza (Gracie Barra)
3 Tarsis Humphreys (Alliance)
1 Michael Langhi (Alliance)
2 Sergio Moraes (Alliance)
3 Adriano Silva (Berbosa)
1 Rubens Charles Maciel (Alliance)
2 Rafael Mendes
3 Michel Maia
1 Kyra Gracie (Gracie Barra)
2 Carol DeLazzer (Gracie Sul)
3 Kanako Inaba