World number three Munkhbat Urantsetseg of Mongolia was back amongst the medals in Abu Dhabi after finishing fifth at the World Championships in September. The former world champion won her first gold medal in 12 months by pinning down Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Distria Krasniqi (KOS) for 20 seconds after initiating a sankaku turnover and was unrelenting in her committed finish to win the first final in the U.A.E.
In the first semi-final Munkhbat submitted London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Csernoviczki Eva (HUN) from a sankaku-gatame hold for ippon. In the second semi-final Olympic champion Paula Pareto (ARG) was disqualified againat Krasniqi after picking up a third shido for a false attack in the closing seconds.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Cancun Grand Prix winner Pareto who beat Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Milica Nikolic (SRB) by a waza-ari in golden score. Pareto was the first medallist at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018 as her contest opened the final block and yielded a seventh Grand Slam career medal.
The second bronze medal was won by former Qingdao Grand Prix winner Li Yanan (CHN) who thwarted Csernoviczki by a waza-ari after 12 seconds of added time. Li grew stronger as the contest went on and claimed victory in golden score in front of China Judo Assocation President and new IJF Hall of Fame member Xian Dongmei.