After unsuccessful attempts in 2016 and 2017, Al Ketbi went into the 85kg final hoping to make it third time lucky on his home patch.
Brazil’s Isaque Braz stood in his way at the Mubadala Arena but despite a spirited display in front of a vocal home support, the UAE top-ranked fighter fell short in his quest, losing 2-0.
Al Ketbi did not speak to the media but Braz was thrilled to have won his third gold in the capital after triumphing in blue and brown belts in previous years.
“For me it was a normal victory,” said the 22-year-old. “I didn’t feel any pressure against a home favourite because every day I train and compete with world champions so the fight against Faisal Al Ketbi was just another match for me.
“It was a hard match because he is a great competitor but I’m happy to win gold here.”
There was more UAE disappointment as Talib Saleh lost to Brazilian Thiago Marques in the Black Masters 1.
The South Americans showed their dominance on the mat, winning five of the six men’s matches.
Felipe Pena, who had won four golds in Abu Dhabi, made it five as he came out on top against Poland’s Adam Wardzinski. Pena, winner of the Open category in 2016, used all his experience to claim a convincing 4-0 win in the black 94kg final.
“Winning gold was one of my objectives before I came to Abu Dhabi,” said Pena, who won all his seven matches. “I felt really good coming into the tournament because of the way that I trained at home. This is the World Pro and there are no easy matches in the competition.”
His compatriot Erberth Santos added to Brazil’s tally, needing just 62 seconds to defeat Lucio Rodrigues of Great Britain in the 110kg final.
“I’m very happy to win this title because it’s one of the best in the world,” said Santos, who last year was beaten in the same division last year.
“Winning and losing is part of the game and last year it was hard for me. I put in a lot of hard work in training and I came back hard and won gold.”
Twin Joao and Paulo Miyao gave Brazil even more reason to celebrate by winning the 62kg and 69kg divisions respectively.
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