The event was not without controversy though as human rights groups have raised concerns about the World Expo glossing over what they've called the UAE's abusive human rights record. Bolsonaro, himself, has recently been accused by his own senate of "crimes against humanity" for his handling of Brazil's COVID-19 crisis.
World class competitors make World Masters debuts
While there will be many familiar faces competing at this year's World Master, there are also plenty of world class competitors making their debuts in 2021. Paulo and Joao Miyao have won every major gi title since taking the sport by storm when they were just purple belts. The brothers rose to jiu-jitsu stardom with their insane work ethics and berimbolo back taking techniques. Their philosophies and competition results have inspired many of the new generation of jiu-jitsu athletes. Although they don't compete quite as often as they used to, look for them to be the top contenders for a Masters World title in the Master 1 light featherweight division. Dominique Bell of Atos Jiu-Jitsu is another high level competitor competing in the masters division for the first time in Las Vegas. Dominique is a judo and jiu-jitsu black belt who achieved great results in the adult divisions throughout his career. He will be a great addition to the Master 1 heavyweight division with his newly refined takedown skills.
Legends return to defend World Master Titles
One of the best part of the annual World Master is the chance to watch jiu-jitsu legends get back on the competition mats and put their best techniques to the test. Wellington "Megaton" Dias will be competing in the Master 6 lightweight division, returning to a tournament he has won multiple times. Megaton is a judo and jiu-jitsu black belt and has also competed in the adult worlds every year despite being the oldest competitor in the tournament. Helvecio Pena, representing Carlson Gracie Team, is another legend competing this weekend in the Master 6 heavyweight division. Helvecio is another master's competitor who often tests himself in the adult division. This weekend he'll be looking to capture his 18th World Master title. Jean Jacques Machado black belt Felicia Oh is part of the female dirty dozen, being the 6th woman outside of Brazil to be promoted to the rank. She'll be competing in the Master 5 light-featherweight division and look to add another Master World title to her collection.
Middleweight and Heavyweight Grand Prix brackets offer $20k cash prizes
Amid all of the great masters level matches will be two grand prix events, each featuring four of the best competitors in their respective divisions. The middleweight grand prix will feature Otavio Sousa of Gracie Barra, Renato Canuto of Checkmat, Tainan Dalpra of Art of Jiu-Jitsu, and Jonnatas Gracie of Atos. The heavyweight grand prix will feature Fellipe Andrew of Alliance, Victor Hugo of Six Blades, Gustavo Batista of Atos, and Mahamed Aly of Team Lloyd Irvin. The brackets are a great mix of well-established veterans and the division's brightest rising stars. Be sure to check out all the action live on FloGrappling.
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The extra wait for the new cycle of trials allowed some new faces to emerge lead by 16-year-old Cole Abate who won the men's 66 kg division. He was joined by Kade Ruotolo at 77 kg, Giancarlo Bodoni at 88 kg, ADCC veteran Mason Fowler at 99 kg and perhaps the day's most impressive performer, John Hansen, who won the finals of the over 99 kg class with a submission in less than 30 seconds. The women's field saw Brianna Ste-Marie take the 60 kg category, while Kendall Reusing won the over 60 kg division. Though the women's winners didn't automatically qualify for the world championships, flograppling.com reports event organizer Tom Deblass offered to fly them to the West Coast Trials which will guarantee winners a championship bid.
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Guedes, who has been on fire in the female ranks recently, continued to shine claiming the women's 76 kg division then beating 71 kg winner Elisabeth Clay to take the women's open weight title. Also notable was men's 55 kg champion Estevan Martinez who was the only black belt competitor to win every one of his matches by submission. This was the first no-gi world championship since 2019 and the first ever to allow heel hooks. No one took better advantage than Lucas Silva who won his first two matches in the men's 73 kg division by heel hook before losing to Gianni Grippo in the finals.
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