Gracie, Bahiense star in first edition of Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship - GulfToday

Gracie, Bahiense star in first edition of Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship


Neiman Gracie celebrates after winning his bout against Ben Henderson at the Mubadala Arena on Friday.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Neiman Gracie and Isaque Bahiense produced dominant performances in the inaugural edition of the Abu Dhabi Extreme Championship on Friday.

In the presence of Sheikh Zayed Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 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 spectacle for fight fans, as 28 top fighters graced the stage, providing an evening of aggressive play that will be etched in the annals of combat sports history.

In a titanic showdown, Gracie emerged victorious over the former UFC and WEC champion, Ben Henderson, in the No-Gi Main Event.

Gracie, who proudly carries the legendary Gracie name and the legacy of his uncle, Renzo Gracie, squared off against Henderson, a multifaceted fighter known for his wrestling prowess and formidable guillotine. Gracie secured a remarkable victory via submission, further adorning his ever-expanding medal collection.

“ADXC is the new show that’s gonna 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.”

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

The Gi main event also featured a fierce rivalry as DreamArt leader 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.

Bahiense said, “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.”

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.

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. Cyborg 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.


Earlier, in a remarkable first fight of the night and the ADXC series, Sarah Galvao got the better off her opponent, Vitoria Gabreilla, in the third round in the Gi Super Fight division.

The electrifying showdown witnessed relentless determination from Galvao, 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 Sarah executed the “Bow and Arrow” move with precision, clinching a commanding victory.

Reflecting on her impressive performance, Sarah Galvao said, “Vitoria 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.”

Tonight’s triumph represents a pivotal milestone in Galvao’s career, as she showcased her jiu-jitsu prowess on a grand stage.

Commenting on her experience of fighting within the cage, Sarah acknowledged the unique challenges it presented. She said, “The cage makes a big difference, 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.”

Sarah further revealed her strategy, saying, “She was using the cage to her advantage, so I used her momentum to my advantage. She used it, but I only used the cage for the double leg takedown.”

The historic moment was also marked by the presence of her parents cheering for her. When asked about her father’s role, who is a jiu-jitsu icon Andre Galvao, in her corner during the fight, Sarah 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 pass or pull guard. I had full confidence in his advice.”

At just 17 years of age, Galvao, the youngest fighter on the ADXC roster, achieved an extraordinary milestone by winning the first-ever match in the ADXC series and made history.

Andre Galvao, jiu-jitsu icon and proud 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.”

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 will be etched in history as a momentous occasion in the world of combat sports.

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. Fourteen exhilarating fights took place inside a custom-built octagon.

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