*Editor’s note: The original article inaccurately reported the number of matches that Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu had in the absolute division at the Grappling Industries Arnold Classic and it has been amended to report the full bracket, including the final match with Dante Leon.*
Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu visited the Arnold Classic on March 5th, 2023 and decided to enter the absolute division of the Grappling Industries tournament that was arranged for the event. He put in a great performance at the event and managed to submit four out of five of his opponents in the division in order to take home a gold medal. He wasn’t just competing at the event either, as he also had to spend some time cornering his athletes to their own success as well.
Cyborg’s win in the division shouldn’t be surprising as he still competes at the highest levels of the sport and trains with the best of both the current and future generation of elite athletes. Of course Cyborg doesn’t just compete alongside top athletes, he regularly beats them as well and has earned several big wins over the last few years. He was even awarded ‘Male Grappler of the Year (no gi)’ at the JitsMagazine BJJ Awards back in 2020 thanks to his impressive run of form at the age of 40.
While Cyborg’s appearance at a Grappling Industries tournament might have come as a surprise to some, the promotion actually attracts some top talent pretty often. Elite grapplers like Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, and Robert Degle have competed at their events, as have top UFC fighters ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley. Cyborg wasn’t even the only elite competitor in this tournament either, as he faced off with IBJJF no gi world champion Dante Leon in the final match of the division. Leon That was actually the only match of the day that Cyborg didn’t win by submission, as it was an incredibly close match that neither man was able to score a point in. Leon is significantly lighter than Cyborg and had won four matches himself coming into the final, although the Cyborg was declared the winner by decision.
Thankfully, Cyborg actually decided to film some his matches at the tournament and has uploaded the resulting footage to his official Instagram account. In the first filmed match of the Grappling Industries absolute tournament, his opponent sat to guard early on and Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu immediately powered through. As soon as his opponent tried to wrestle up, Cyborg locked up a guillotine to get the submission finish in just seventeen seconds:
Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu started off his second filmed fight in the Grappling Industries absolute division with a similar attack from the front headlock, but his next opponent defended the initial attempt. He drove him to his back regardless though and then started attacking the arm, setting up a chain of submission attempts that eventually caught his opponent:
Dante Leon also shared footage of the final match between him and Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu at the Grappling Industries Arnold Classic on his official Instagram account. In this match Cyborg is pacing himself much more, no doubt because of the increase in level of competition. Leon shoots and almost lands a takedown early but the pair go out of bounds and reset in the centre. He shoots again and the shot is stuffed by Cyborg, with Leon taking bottom half-guard and working from there. The rest of the match sees Leon attempting to work off his back while Cyborg tries to pass, but neither man is able to get what they want until the final few seconds when Leon hits an entry to the legs. The match ends almost immediately after and Cyborg is awarded the decision:
This wasn’t actually his second match in that tournament. I know this, because I was his second match. I tapped to a heelhook at around 5min. I didn’t see anybody filming for him, but I had someone film it.