Last year’s champion and second-ranked female athlete in the world, the 22-year-old is coming to the UAE capital in pursuit of her fourth medal. The Brazilian is gearing up to compete in the Women’s Brown/Black 62kg division
In 2023, the memory of Julia Alves clinching gold at the 14th Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship (ADWPJJC) last year remains vivid for the Brazilian. She secured victory in a thrilling Women’s Brown/Black 62kg division final against American Emily Fernandez, marking her third championship medal out of a potential five. As she gears up for her return to the arena, Alves explains her deep connection to the championships and her unwavering determination to defend her title.
Alves currently holds the No. 2 ranking in the Women’s Professional Brown/Black AJP Tour 2022-2023, with an impressive 12,000 points. She maintains the same ranking in the Women’s Professional Brown/Black Belt Lightweight (under 62kg) Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2023-2024, boasting 3,800 points. She is eagerly preparing for the highly anticipated event in November, expressing her readiness to claim the gold once again.
Reflecting on her journey, Alves warmly recalls how, in 2019, she had just $20 to her name when she borrowed money to make her debut at the ADWPJJC in the UAE: “The first time I competed in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, I was a blue belt, and I became a champion after five intense fights. Borrowing money to compete in Abu Dhabi made that championship victory an incredibly fulfilling experience.”
Following this, a remarkable milestone unfolded, both in the history of the championship and in Alves’s career. She reflected, “I’ve competed three more times in the brown/black division, securing a bronze medal in 2021 and claiming my first gold in the Brown/Black Adults division in 2022.”
Alves recognized that her recent triumphs were no easy feat. She recounted, “During last year’s battles, I faced physically formidable opponents. I had just concluded a demanding season competing for rankings, which required monthly fights. So, at the ADWPJJC, I was already fatigued, but I had to maintain my focus and discipline to accomplish my year-end goal.”
Her unyielding determination ultimately led to victory. The 22-year-old emphasized, “I truly desired this title. I had lost to a remarkable athlete in the preceding two years, and I dedicated myself twice as hard to achieve my objective. I persevered and went the distance.”
Alves emphasized the profound respect that international athletes, especially those from Brazil, hold for the ADWPJJC. She stated, “Abu Dhabi consistently elevates the stature of events, regardless of their significance. I believe the distinction lies in how they treat the athletes; the entire setup makes us feel esteemed. Being in Abu Dhabi allows them to organize and execute the entire event with grandeur and care, precisely as they envision.”
“The first time I competed in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, I was a blue belt, and I became a champion after five intense fights. Borrowing money to compete in Abu Dhabi made that championship victory an incredibly fulfilling experience.Julia Alves
Recognized as the Best Women’s Brown/Black Player of the Year at the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards for amassing the highest-ranking points during AJP’s national, continental, and international competitions, Alves expressed the significance of this accolade. “Last year, I was honored as the best female athlete in the overall rankings and the top athlete on the South American continent. This held great meaning for me as it validated all my efforts as an athlete. Furthermore, the prize money provided me with the opportunity to concentrate on my career and invest in future championships.”
As a representative of Grappling Fight Team, Alves highlighted how winning medals at the ADWPJJC can significantly bolster athletes on their professional journeys. She remarked, “I believe that winning this championship provides many athletes with the chance to focus on their athletic careers for a period, as the prizes are substantial. Typically, we compete solely for medals and titles, so having the opportunity to compete for money gives us an added incentive.”
The 15th edition of the championship will take place at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City from November 1 to 10, featuring over 6,000 male and female athletes from more than 100 countries.