The most thrilling aspect of any ADCC tournament is typically its Absolute division. The best grapplers of every weight class lay it all on the line to become the undisputed king of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship, and the highlights are always sensational.
That was not the case on Sunday in Sao Paulo with the ADCC 2015 gold medal match between Claudio Calasans and Joao Gabriel Rocha.
The two fought hard for the entire regulation and overtime period but failed to score any points. Calasans was awarded the victory by the skin of his teeth thanks to Rocha having one more penalty for stalling than did Calasans. Since pulling guard will cost a competitor points, Calasans and Rocha clinched, fought for wrist control and missed takedowns throughout their encounter, leaving much to be desired.
Still, the battle was as close as they come. Calasans was slightly less passive than his opponent and thus was awarded arguably the most coveted prize in the grappling community.
Calasans’ path to the gold saw him edging Gabriel Lucas and Vinny Magalhaes on points, and then squeaking past Yuri Simoes in the semifinals via referee’s decision. Every one of his battles was a razor-thin verdict, but he was just a little fresher and more assertive as he climbed through the bracket. Rocha got past A.J. Agazarm, Vagner Rocha and Rodolfo Vieira, all due to points wins, en route to the gold medal round.
Vieira was awarded the bronze medal when would-be opponent Simoes withdrew from competition due to an injury. Vieira submitted former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via triangle choke in the first round and then outpointed Rafael Lovato Jr. in the quarterfinals.
Other highlights of the Absolute division were Magalhaes outpointing Garry Tonon; Vagner Rocha besting Romulo Barral; Dean Lister submitting Ricardo de Mesquita; and Lovato edging Magomed Abdukadirov.
The lone super fight of the afternoon saw Andre Galvao dominate Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu en route to a 6-0 points victory. Galvao scored several takedowns early on and quickly seized Abreu’s back. After Galvao spent several minutes looking for a rear-naked choke and racking up points, “Cyborg” finally escaped to his feet. Abreu almost fully reversed his foe but fell short when Galvao escaped up to standing to reset.
Abreu tried in vain to steal back some points, but Galvao scored another takedown late, sealing Abreu’s fate. Galvao, who won the ADCC Absolute division in 2011 and then submitted Braulio Estima via rear-naked choke in their 2013 super fight, will face Calasans in the featured super fight at ADCC 2017.
ADCC 2015 Medals Round-up
Over-218-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Orlando Sanchez
Silver: Jared Dopp
Bronze: Vinny Magalhaes
218-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Rodolfo Vieira
Silver: Felipe Pena
Bronze: Joao Assis
194-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Yuri Simoes
Silver: Keenan Cornelius
Bronze: Rustam Chsiev
170-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Davi Ramos
Silver: Lucas Lepri
Bronze: Gilbert Burns
145-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Rubens Charles
Silver: Bruno Frazzato
Bronze: Augusto Mendes
Women’s Over-132-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Ana Laura Cordeiro
Silver: Jessica Oliveira
Bronze: Gabi Garcia
Women’s Under-132-Pound Medal Order
Gold: Mackenzie Dern
Silver: Michelle Nicolini
Bronze: Tammi Musumeci
1st Place: Claudio Calasans ($40,000)
2nd Place: Joao Gabriel Rocha ($10,000)
3rd Place: Rodolfo Vieira ($5,000)