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Fighters land in UAE ahead of first Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship kicks off on Oct. 20. (UAEJJF)
The inaugural Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship kicks off on Oct. 20. (UAEJJF)
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19 Oct 2023 05:10:09 GMT9
19 Oct 2023 05:10:09 GMT9

Arab News

ABU DHABI: The inaugural Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship begins on Friday at the Mubadala Arena — as part of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Showdown Week — with some of the world’s best grapplers participating.

Organizers International Vision Sports Management have confirmed that all preparations for the groundbreaking combat sports event have been completed.

The ADXC 1 championship will see jiu-jitsu and mixed-martial-arts athletes compete in bouts consisting of five, three-minute rounds. It is then set to embark on a tour of major international cities over the next two years. Season champions will be crowned based on accumulated points.

“We are just hours away from Abu Dhabi hosting the inaugural ADXC, ushering in a new era of combat sports,” said Abdel Moneim Al-Hashemi, chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, president of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, and chairman of International Vision Investments, majority stakeholders in IVSM.

“This championship will bring together the world’s best fighters, offering a comprehensive global platform for jiu-jitsu and grappling that transcends the boundaries of combat sports. Abu Dhabi has already established itself as a global capital of jiu-jitsu and this event will reshape the landscape of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and martial arts through this unique championship here in the UAE capital.

“Our aim is to elevate the stature of this championship on the global stage,” said Al-Hashemi. “Athletes spend their life dedicated to showing the value and beauty of jiu-jitsu, so it is important to show that this sport can be both accessible and appreciated by the world.”

ADXC 1 represents a fusion of jiu-jitsu and MMA, combining strategy and raw power.

“Fifteen years ago, the discussions surrounding jiu-jitsu were just beginning, but today Abu Dhabi has emerged as a global leader in the sport and the largest developer of jiu-jitsu in the world,” Al-Hashemi added. “This impressive journey reflects Abu Dhabi’s unwavering commitment to creating unique opportunities for top champions in martial arts.

“The city has set the stage for a new and exceptional platform for jiu-jitsu and grappling giants. Abu Dhabi’s reputation as the center for nurturing talent and a destination for champions in the world of jiu-jitsu and grappling is well-deserved. It’s a testament to the city’s dedication and passion for the sport.”

The ADXC 1 card features two main events and two co-main events. In the No-Gi Main Event, Neiman Gracie — who holds the record for most submissions in his division — faces former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson.

“Ever since I was a little boy I always wanted to come here and fight in front of all you guys,” said Gracie, who is a fourth-generation member of the famous Gracie family, widely regarded as the primary developers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“I’ve been watching what the UAE royal family has done for jiu-jitsu and consider Abu Dhabi to be the capital of jiu-jitsu in the whole world. I can’t wait to put on a show. It’s no secret that every time I fight I’m looking for submission, so a nice submission is what I’m aiming for.”

In the Gi Main Event, Brazilians Isaque Bahiense and Gustavo Batista face off, while in the No-Gi Co-Main Event Tarek Suleiman, the top-ranked MMA middleweight in the Arab world, faces the UFC’s fifth-ranked middleweight Marvin Vettori. The No-Gi Co-Main Event will include Roberto Cyborg Abreu versus Anton Minenko.

The ADXC card also boasts a star-studded Arab lineup, including Emirati Zayed Al-Katheeri taking on Thalison Soares.

“It’s different rules to normal AJP competitions, so I have prepared so hard for this event,” said Al-Katheeri. “I am honored and excited to take part in this first edition and hope to put on a good show for the UAE in the UAE.”

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