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After his fifth Abu Dhabi World Pro gold, Felipe Pena insists his 2016 Absolute win is his most ‘special’

The Brazilian has rich memories of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Denzil Pinto 2018/04/29

The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship is proving to be a special tournament for Felipe Pena. Before making the long trip from Brazil, he had already won four golds in three years in the UAE capital and the 26-year-old added to his medal collection with his fifth triumph in the 94kg division on Saturday night.

The victory in the weight division is no real surprise considering that now four of his five golds have come in this class. But while he cherishes every single medal, there’s one that stands out from the rest – his gold at Absolute in 2016.

Back then, he defeated home favourite Jose Junior, making up for his loss in the 94kg that year.

“All the medals that I’ve won here are all the same for me,” he said. “A gold here is the same as anything else but if I have to choose what is the most special I’ve won then for sure it was when I won the Absolute title in 2016.

“That was the first time that I won that category and it was tough because I had to beat the best of the best in the world. So that is something that I’ll remember for a long time.”

He added: “The World Pro is one of the most important tournaments in the world and it’s one I don’t want to miss because it’s an opportunity to see where you stand against the world’s best.”

Having competed in Abu Dhabi every year since 2015, Pena has seen the World Pro go from strength-to-strength on every visit. He lauded the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation for their vision in making the sport grow not just in the country but abroad.

“The UAEJJF is doing great things for the sport and everyone in the world knows about Abu Dhabi and their efforts in promoting the game worldwide which can only attract more youngsters to take up jiu-jitsu.”

For the chairman of the UAEJJF, Abdulmonem Al Hashimi, he declared the 10th edition of the competition a big success. “The tenth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has been a great success that we are particularly proud of,” he said. “It has represented the UAE’s deep capabilities in hosting and organising global championships of the highest calibre. This is paving a new path for jiu-jitsu, which now holds the deep interest of Emirati society.

“The UAE has succeeded in drawing global attention, having taken its place at the forefront of the sport. At the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, we have worked diligently to build a generation of professional Jiu-Jitsu athletes that are capable of taking on the world’s most notable champions and represent the UAE across international tournaments.”

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