MANILA, Philippines – Winning is definitely in her genes.
Aleia Aielle Aguilar – the five-year-old daughter of one of the country’s mixed martial arts pillars, Alvin Aguilar, and former champion Maybelline Masuda – became the Philippines’ youngest world youth champion in jiu-jitsu over the weekend in the United Arab Emirates.
The young Aguilar downed Gabriela Vercosa of Brazil in the final round to capture the gold in the kids’ 1 under-16kg event of the 2022 Abu Dhabi World Youth Jiu-Jitsu Championships at the Jiu-jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi.
With Aguilar applying a heavy sprawl, Vercosa tapped out as the young Filipino won via verbal submission.
Before the finals, Aguilar of Deftac-Ribeiro Jiu-jitsu Philippines defeated UAE’s Maria El Halabi, 6-0, in the semifinal match to advance to the title round.
“I’m beyond happy that my baby girl is now the Philippines youngest world champion. We will continue to work hard to bring honor to our country,” said the elder Aguilar, the president and founder of the longest Filipino MMA promotions Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC).
Masuda was also the first Filipino jiu-jitsu world champion in 2009 and won the country’s first gold in the sport in the 2014 Asian Beach Games.
“She was born into jiu-jitsu,” said Masuda. “I was bringing her with me to training after giving birth to her when she was as young as three weeks old. Every training day, competition day, she grew up with jiu-jitsu in her life and it eventually became her dream to compete.”
Aguilar was in UAE with coach Lester del Rosario along with athletes Fierre Afan, Lord Gabriel del Rosario, Joaquin Antonio Marte, and David Zaldarriaga, and the Aguilar family including her brothers Alonso Lucas and Andreas Lucho. They’ll return to Manila on Tuesday.
The elder Aguilar, who spent over 30 years studying multiple martial arts including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, expressed gratitude to her daughter’s training teammates at DEFTAC, including her training partner Yuri Yson, and all her coaches, especially wrestling coach Choy Tumasis from WAP.
“I was more nervous watching her compete than I’ve ever felt when I compete myself,” said Masuda. “I couldn’t sleep the night before [the finals] but we pulled through and she got what we came here for.” – Rappler.com