Day 1 of the 2012 World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship ended with an encounter set for the next day.
Alexandre Ribeiro, 31, two times black belt absolute champion of the world and a legend of the sport, will be at that encounter.
Leandro Lo Nascimento, 21, recently crowned lightweight world champion and one of the stand outs of the new generation, is the one Xande will be meeting.
The final match of the Worlds No-Gi black belt absolute will be the first time they are face to face on the mat.
To get there, Xande had to overcome the energy of Vitor Oliveira: “He was short, explosive, a very tatical fight but I managed to score 4-0.”"
Then, he faced Gracie Barra’s Kleber Oliveira: “Buiu is a guy that I saw starting out as a kid, at Gracie Barra. He is a very good wrestler, with a lot of tricks but I was able to take him down and score my points to win”.
In the semifinal, Xande met a recent rival, Alliance’s Bernardo Faria. After losing the 2010 heavyweight world title to Faria, Xande came back with two wins over the rival in 2012: “I defeated him at the World Pro, in Abu Dhabi, and now without the gi. Bernardo is always a very tough opponent who never gives up. Again he defended well against my armbar at the end, which left me a little disappointed at the moment, but that is ok.”
For the final, Xande already has a strategy planned, but he refuses to share it: “If I tell you, he will read it and do something about it. Leandro is an amazing fighter with beautiful technique but I am going to impose what people are now calling the ‘old school’ Jiu-Jitsu. I want to play my game and not his. I foresee a fun fight.”
Leandro Lo was almost everybody’s favorite opponent when the bracket was being made.
When confronted with the idea of facing Lo or a heavier opponent, fighters and coaches always tended to choose Lo as an adversary.
“Being small is a drag in Jiu-Jitsu,” joked one of the people present, in a remark that made Leandro laugh.
But, when it came to the mats, early on Leandro proved that he wasn’t going to be anybody’s sparring dummy.
First, he outscored Diego Herzog, much heavier but ultimately a victim of Lo’s guard.
Then, he fought DJ Jackson, a fierce guard passer who tried his best for 10 minutes.
All he got was an advantage for a penalty incurred by Lo.
Two sweep attempts granted Lo the spot in the semifinal, where he fought Antônio Peinado.
The semifinal was different, as Peinado decided to play guard and prevent Lo from being comfortable with his back on the ground.
Even so, Leandro managed to offer a lot of danger to Peinado’s guard, which secured him the advantage that decided the match.
About his performance and what he expects from the final against Xande, Lo said: “I was very pleased with what I did today. Xande is a very tough guy, and I am very happy to face him. He is strong and does not lose positions, which makes him a very dangerous opponent”.
In the female division, the absolute final will be between Beatriz Mesquita and Tammy Griego.
Bia outscored Luiza Monteiro 9-2 in one semifinal, and Tammy defeated Michelle Nicolini 5-2 in the other semi.
Besides the open class finals, Sunday will also feature the black belt weight categories.
Stay tuned to GRACIEMAG’s social media channels and get the complete coverage live from Long Beach.
Here is an exclusive photo gallery of day one at the Pyramid.