Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo will see the return of the legends series with Japanese black belt legend, Daisuke “Amazon” Sugie facing two-time champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro next weekend.
Sugie, 37, is a jiu-jitsu black belt legend representing Carpe Diem team and also a veteran MMA fighter with 18 bouts to his name.
“It is an honour for me to represent Japan at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam here in Tokyo,” said Sugie ahead of the bout at the OTA Gymnasium, Tokyo on Sunday 29th July.
“The Legends series in the UAEJJF events is very prestigious and invitational, so to be invited, I am really excited to face Vitor Shaolin, he has achieved everything in Jiu-Jitsu and MMA and it will be a thrilling match no doubt.”
Ribeiro, 39, has twice appeared at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship Legends series. In the 2017 edition, he choked Kenny Florian unconscious, before submitting Daniel Moraes.
“This will be my third time at the Legends series but fist time outside of Abu Dhabi, so that is a new experience, and to do it against one of the best in Japan, Daisuke, it a moment of pride,” said Ribeiro. “All I can say is, it will be a special match for sure and I would like to thank the UAEJJF for their first class organization and hospitality.”
The new Abu Dhabi Grand Slam season will begin next month in Tokyo, one of five cities on the 2018-19 season.
The UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) announced details of the new campaign on Thursday for their competition, which will be held across four continents. As well as Tokyo, Los Angeles (September 22-23), Rio De Janeiro (November 16-18), Abu Dhabi (February 7-9) and London (March 9-10) will also be hosting their own legs.
Abdulmunam Al Hashemi, chairman of the UAEJJF, president of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union and senior vice-president of Jiu-Jitsu International Federation, said: “These five host cities are a key part of UAEJJF’s international expansion strategy.
“The demand and growth from our fans to continue to bring live events to these cities has been overwhelming, and with the vast potential these markets hold for us, we are delighted once again to bring the most prestigious jiu-jitsu world tour back to Tokyo, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi and London.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam will have a combined cash prize of more than $800,000 and is open to all nationalities with world rankings also on offer.
The top three academies will also receive cash prizes in each host city and top ranked athletes will receive prizes at the end of the season according to the UAEJJF World Rankings system.
Now in its fourth edition, the competition has gone from strength to strength not only in competitors but TV viewers.
“Last season the Grand Slam was watched by more than 11 million fans around the world through our 18 broadcast partners in more than 100 countries,” said Fahad Al Shamsi, chief executive officer of UAEJJF.
“With invaluable support and inspiration from our leadership, especially His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation has become the largest Jiu-Jitsu content provider in the world.”
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Vice President of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), has predicted a spurt in the popularity of the sport following its successful debut in the Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament.
With competition for gold medals in 29 different categories, the first edition of the NAS Jiu-Jitsu Championship attracted more than 400 participants from many different nationalities and Al Dhaheri was impressed with the quality of the competition and turnout.
“The Nad Al Sheba Sports Tournament, organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, has risen from the local stage to become a truly international event,” said Al Dhaheri.
“It keeps growing stronger and stronger with every passing year and we, the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, are proud to be a part of this tournament and I believe our partnership with the Organising Committee of NAS will give Jiu-Jitsu a boost, expanding the base of the sport and increasing the number of participants.
“This year we had more than 400 participants and I am confident we will see bigger numbers in the next edition because the number of people joining this sport keeps increasing significantly every year.
“So we are looking forward to the next edition of the NAS Sports Tournament. Participating in this tournament has been and will continue to be on the agenda of the UAEJJF. We at the Federation want to take Jiu-Jitsu to every home and every family in the UAE, and the NAS Sports Tournament will be one of our main partners in this endeavour.”
Meanwhile, in the NAS Padel Championship, the pair of Mohammed Al Mansouri and Saeed Al Marri will take on Abdullah Ahli and Mohammed Ahli in the final of the UAE Nationals category.
In the semi-finals on Friday night, Al Mansouri and Al Marri defeated Abdullah Amiri and Majed Al Falasi 6-0, 6-1, while Abdullah and Mohammed Ahli qualified at the expense of Sheikh Saeed Hasher and Omar Sharif, winning 6-1, 6-1.