2019 IBJJF European  Championship: Claudia Doval vs  Maria Santos


Photo by Flograppling

Written by Rome G. Lytton IV


Some athletes carry a certain trademark that makes them stand out in addition to their amazing achievements: Conor McGregor’s swag, Donald Cerrone’s cowboy hat, Claudia Doval’s dark red hair.


     Even if you don’t know who Doval is, you can’t help but lock eyes on her when she competes. She enters the 2019 IBJJF European Championship with a long list of impressive accomplishments: IBJJF World Champion at brown and black belt, Pans Champion, Asian Open Champion, IBJJF European Champion and CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (just to mention a few). Her match with Maria Santos stood out to me and had me on my feet the entire time.


     The match starts with a quick fist bump and a brief hand fight exchange, where Santos establishes a cross grip on Doval’s right collar. But before Santos can do anything with her collar grip, Doval pulls guard. When she pulls guard, I first think she misses out on controlling Santos’ left hip with her right foot, but then I notice her slowly inching her leg deeper and deeper under Santos’ left arm. I switch my attention to her left leg and see that she’s threatening to establish a lasso (guard) around Santos’ right arm.

     Santos, not wanting to give up her arm to Doval’s lasso attempt, attaches her elbow to her body as most high-level grapplers would do. This distracts Santos’ attention from her other arm, and Doval capitalizes by transitioning into what looks to be an omoplata, then switches to a triangle attempt. She uses the triangle to trap Santos between her legs and attack Santos’ exposed arm. Santos defends and wraps her arm around Doval’s left leg.

     Doval instantly transitions to an omoplata, and locks it in deep. She attempts to force Santos’ right arm across her back to submit her by shoulder lock, but Santos wisely grabs Doval’s foot to counter. Santos starts to work her hips up high to roll out of the omoplata control, but Doval sees this and counters by scooting her hips into Santos and sweeping her for two points. Santos frames her hand against Doval’s left leg to stop her from advancing into mount to score four more points. Doval controls Santos right arm, releases the omoplata control and looks for an armbar from side control. Before Doval could finish her transition, Santos wraps up Doval’s left leg with her own legs.

     Santos tries to rotate her hips to get back to her knees for two points to tie the score, but Doval’s solid control on Santos’ arm shuts down the attempt and actually helps Doval free her leg and establish what looks to be a likely armbar finish. Santos realizes she is in hot water and rolls to her knees to escape. But Doval quickly transitions to Santos’ back. She opens up Santos’ collars to establish a cross collar grip on Santos’ right collar and wrist control on Santos’ left wrist while also trapping Santos’ right arm with her right leg in the process. High level grappling at it’s finest.

     Santos does her best to get the back of her head to the mat to slip out of Doval’s cross collar grip, but Doval’s elbow is too tight to her own hip. She then transitions to a beautiful bow and arrow choke to submit Santos, moving closer toward the 2019 IBJJF European Championship. My only regret is watching this match without popcorn.


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