Ricardo Evangelista was just one fight away from a perfect performance at the Brazilian National. But not even the defeat to Rafael Lovato Jr. in the black belt absolute final takes the mood away from the GFTeam athlete.
“It was good, a lot of people must have been surprised with my performance in the competition, huh,” laughs the black belt. “In the absolute final, I thought about submitting quickly, that’s what I did wrong,” he acknowledges.
Evangelista talked about the lessons learned in Barueri, analyzed the strategy used to beat Rodrigo Cavaca in the final of the ultra heavy division, and also taught us one of his favorite positions — useful for light and heavy guys. Check it out:
GRACIEMAG: How do you feel about your performance at the Brazilian National this year? Are you happy or upset?
RICARDO EVANGELISTA: I really enjoyed my performance, and many people must have been amazed and surprised with it (laughs)! I tried to fight forward and play my game. Today I managed to use a more aggressive game, but what made the difference was the heart and will. People don’t know, but today I teach in five different places and have to adapt my training and physical preparation in between. It is not easy to do it all the time, but I got the title.
Let’s talk about the ultra heavy gold first, the fight that came before the open final. What did you do there?
I’m a big fan of Cavaca and when the fight was over I talked to him. I went to fight with a strategy, in case he pulled guard first, but I managed to close the guard first and started ahead. I managed to sweep from the closed guard twice. It was an honor to have fought him. I felt very comfortable when I closed the guard and the victory began there. In the end, he scared me when he went for the foot lock, but those were the final seconds and I could resist. I think Cavaca is very flexible. With all that size, I couldn’t mount, and we got into a battle of mounting attempts and defense.
And the absolute final with Lovato. You almost passed, tried to get the back, but in the end you tapped out. Did you make any mistakes?
Lovato came from a long distance and took our medal, but it was deserved. He had a superb championship performance and every one of us would be congratulated. Unfortunately I lost. I think it was a very long time since I fought so many matches. Starting at the weight semifinal I felt my muscles fatigued. I had opportunities during the fight and thought about submitting soon — that’s what I did wrong. He knew how to use the strategy and play his game at the exact moment that I made a mistake. He deserves congratulations for the title.
Would you do anything differently?
I’ll try to make fewer mistakes and prepare myself better. When we meet again, it will be different. I’ll be better prepared physically and will push my pace of the fight, as I did at the beginning of this one. The lesson is: “No matter how many times you’ve been put to the test, believe in yourself.”
Tell us more about your sweeps. What is your favorite that is useful to our readers?
What I like to do, and my students in Rio like it too, is the “balloon sweep.” I could only do it once during the tournament, but it is always useful. I call it the “six-points sweep” (laughs) because you sweep and mount.
Video in Portuguese