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ADXC’s first edition delivers an unforgettable spectacle for martial arts fans

28 top fighters graced the stage, providing an evening of aggressive play that will be etched in the annals of combat sports history. (Supplied)
28 top fighters graced the stage, providing an evening of aggressive play that will be etched in the annals of combat sports history. (Supplied)
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23 Oct 2023 05:10:49 GMT9
23 Oct 2023 05:10:49 GMT9

Amin Abbas

ABU DHABI: In the presence of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the first edition of the Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship (ADXC 1) took place at Mubadala Arena, gathering elite athletes from around the world.

The championship lived up to its promise of delivering an unforgettable experience for fight fans. 28 top fighters graced the stage, providing an evening of aggressive play that will be etched in the annals of combat sports history.

With a jam-packed arena and an electrifying crowd passionately rallying behind their favorite fighters, the first-of-its-kind event marked the beginning of a global tour hosted by International Vision Sports Management (IVSM) as part of the ongoing Abu Dhabi Showdown Week. 14 exhilarating fights took place inside a custom-built octagon.

Crowd during ADXC 1. (Supplied)

In a remarkable first fight of the night and the ADXC series, 17-year-old Sarah Galvão, the youngest fighter in ADXC 1 and currently holds a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, emerged victorious over her opponent, Victoria Gabreilla, in the third round of the Gi Super Fight division.

The electrifying showdown witnessed relentless determination from Galvão, who strived to secure a submission hold during the initial two rounds while Gabreilla maintained a steadfast defense.

The match reached its climax in the third round when Galvão executed the “Bow and Arrow” move with precision, clinching a commanding victory.

Reflecting on her impressive performance, Galvão said, “Victoria is a very strong girl. I have great confidence in my jiu-jitsu skills, and I set out to showcase them. I emerged victorious in the end.”

Commenting on her experience of fighting in the cage, Galvão acknowledged the unique challenges it presented. “The cage makes a big difference,” she said. “Especially because you can’t go through the wall, so you have to use the cage to your advantage, and that’s what I did.”

“She was very strong and aggressive, but I didn’t want to deplete my energy too early, so I felt her out in the beginning and used the last two rounds to explode, which ultimately led to my victory at the end,” she added.

The triumph represents a pivotal milestone in Galvão’s career, as she showcased her jiu-jitsu powers on a grand stage. She achieved an extraordinary milestone by winning the first match in the ADXC series.

When asked about the role of her father, Jiu-Jitsu icon Andre Galvão, by her side during the fight, Galvão said, “In the first round, he said we still had to feel out the girl, so there wasn’t too much to say. In the second round, he encouraged me to be more aggressive and gave me guidance on what to do if I passed or pulled guard. I had full confidence in his advice.”

Her father reflected on his daughter’s victory, saying, “It was incredible. In the beginning, she was acclimating to the new environment, with all the lights and the introduction. She was a bit overwhelmed at first but adapted well. The opponent was fresh and strong, cutting a lot of weight to get to her class. But Sarah found her game in the second and third rounds, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Moreover, Bellator fighter Neiman Gracie emerged victorious over the former UFC and WEC champion, Ben Henderson, in the No-Gi Main Event. He secured a remarkable victory via submission, further adorning his ever-expanding medal collection.

“ADXC is the new show that’s going to take over grappling, and I’m happy,” Gracie said following his victory. “I’ve trained extensively under these rules, and it was an excellent match for me because I love chasing submissions. Given the three-minute time limit, I was determined to give it my all in pursuit of the finish. It was a fantastic experience.”

“Fighting someone like Benson, I knew he would be a hard guy to finish. I was determined to finish, which is why I continuously pursued the submission. Since we only had three minutes, I aimed to attempt to finish ten times in those three minutes. If it didn’t work ten times, I’d have gone for twenty,” he added.

Bellator fighter Neiman Gracie emerged victorious over the former UFC and WEC champion, Ben Henderson. (neimangracie on Instagram)

The Gi Main Event also featured a fierce rivalry as DreamArt leader Isaque Bahiense emerged victorious over Atos’ Gustavo Batista. Bahiense, who had previously bested Batista in prior encounters, reaffirmed his dominance while Batista sought redemption, making it an epic clash that showcased the pinnacle of jiu-jitsu.

“Our goal was to play to our strengths. He knows his game well, and I refrained from playing into his pressure. It was a tough contest, but I came out on top,” Bahiense said.

DreamArt leader Isaque Bahiense emerged victorious over Atos’ Gustavo Batista. (isaquebahienseb on Instagram)

Former Venator FC Welterweight Champion and UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori went head-to-head with the relentless Tarek Suleiman, renowned for his No-Gi submission skills, in the Co-Main Event. Vettori emerged victorious after a hard-fought battle, earning a unanimous decision.

Two of the main rooster weights in the world, Brazilian fighter Thalison Soares and Emirati fighter Zayed Alkatheeri, were bound to go up against each other eventually, and their first match-up was at the ADXC 1.

The balance between these two powerhouses was undeniable, with both sides showing their prowess with guards and foot attacks. However, Soares was more aggressive, working on top and with an up-to-date takedown game. The Brazilian fighter took the win via unanimous decision.

In another riveting No-Gi Co-Main Event, Fight Sports leader Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu locked horns with Australian black belt Anton Minenko in a contest that displayed the raw power and skill of these world-class athletes.

Abreu secured victory through a unanimous decision after five intense rounds, but Minenko’s unwavering determination promises an exciting future for this rising star in the sport.

Tayane Porfirio and Giovanna Jara are currently two of the main players in their division, and they went up against each other at ADXC 1.

After a balanced first round, both competitors returned highly motivated for the second part of their match. Porfirio made the first move, pulling guard to go up with a sweep, but Jara deftly used her weight to move on top and avoid her opponent’s attacks until the bell rang.

Porfirio wasted no time and started the third and final round with a full-throttle single-leg takedown, forcing Jara to the ground near the walls of the cage.

After taking side control and mounting, Porfirio unleashed a barrage of attacks on the arm, but despite some close calls, Jara avoided getting submitted. Nevertheless, Porfirio was crowned the winner via the referees’ unanimous decision.

Furthermore, both Middle Eastern MMA fighters, Palestine’s Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady and Egypt’s Islam Nader Reda, stepped onto the ADXC cage and showed an action-packed battle from start to finish.

Al-Selwady and Reda were very agile throughout the match, with the former using his fast jumps to pass the guard and the latter showing his versatility in the guard to stop his opponent’s advances.

With more takedown attacks and pressure on the cage walls, Al-Selwady imposed his game on top and ended up with the victory via unanimous decision.

Al-Selwady with the Palestinian flag during ADXC. (selwadymma on Instagram)

The match between fighters Fabricio Andrey and Marcio Andre was predicted to be an explosive and technical duel. True to form, the battle shook up the ADXC cage, with Andre employing his brisk guard and powerful grips to control Andrey, who ceaselessly sought single-leg takedowns.

Andre shined brighter in the second round, almost passing the guard, but Andrey’s offensiveness won him the match at the end via a split decision.

Two MMA athletes, Marcin Held and Guram Kutateladze, showed their prowess in grappling. Kutateladze kicked off the match with an arm drag, taking his opponent down with a single leg.

Despite being on the ground, Held kept his cool and made his own move by scrambling to go up. Held went on to seize the victory after he went through Kutateladze’s guard and left his opponent defenseless as he locked an armbar in the very first round.

A fast and technical victory for the ace Fellipe Andrew, in a battle against the lively Uanderson Ferreira, pulled guard and stopped his opponent’s intense movement. At the right moment, he quickly locked his triangle choke, submitting with his signature move in the very first round, with little over a minute on the clock.

The stage during ADXC. (Supplied)

After a heated exchange at the weigh-ins, the face-off between Jonnatas Gracie and Natan Chueng brought the heat and the hype to the ADXC cage. Gracie was more aggressive and used some firm grips on the head, while Chueng focused on his attacks.

Halfway through the fight, Chueng made his move and pulled Gracie, aiming for a submission. However, Gracie put pressure on top, avoided his opponent’s attacks, and ended up being the winner.

Fighters Luiza Monteiro and Nathalie Ribeiro had a very balanced match. With many foot attacks, both competitors sought to land the winning lock throughout the three rounds. At the end of it all, the referees unanimously chose Monteiro as the winner.

Moreover, Big Dan Manasoiu used his powerful move set to earn a quick win over Antonio Assef. After dominating the underhook, Manasoiu took Assef down and stayed above.

Assef responded with an attack on the legs, but Manasoiu attacked him with an inside heel hook, ending the fight in less than a minute.

ADXC 1 left fans craving more, with each fight delivering non-stop action and excitement. The fusion of jiu-jitsu and MMA, combined with the incredible skills and tenacity of the fighters, ensured that this event would be etched in history as a momentous occasion in the world of combat sports.

The championship was graced by the presence of a range of esteemed personalities, including Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al Geziry, Director-General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi; Brigadier Mohammed Bin Dalmouj Al Dhaheri, board member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation; Kerrith Brown, IMMAF President; Saeed Hareb, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council; and Tariq Al Bahri, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP).

Renowned MMA fighters Alexander Volkanovski and Belal Muhammad were also present.

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