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World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Superfights: Tanquinho plans to defend prestige against newcomer Grippo

4_GB72_StampSiteOne of the superfights set for the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo in Long Beach, CA on Oct. 18 is that of the featherweights. It will be a match for the 2013 world champion to reaffirm his title as the best against a a young up-and-coming underdog who seeks to test himself against the best.

Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes, despite transferring to the realm of MMA, still wants to get back on the mats. He will be matched against New Yorker Gianni Grippo, a young black belt under Marcelo Garcia.

Tanquinho became the world featherweight champion in 2013 versus Rafa Mendes. Photo: Ivan Trindade
Tanquinho became the world featherweight champion in 2013 versus Rafa Mendes. Photo: Ivan Trindade

Tanquinho has just begun his camp for both the superfight and the MMA fight he has planned for November as part of Legacy. But the hard work he has before him is nothing new. “It’s going to be 8 weeks of hard training. I’m doing S&C, BJJ, wrestling, kickboxing and MMA training, nothing different than what I was doing when I won the worlds in 2013,” explains the champ.

On the other side of the country, Gianni’s approach differs. Having his focus solely on Jiu-Jitsu, his plans for the preparation won’t change from his normal routine: “I’m really not doing anything different in preparation for this particular match over any event I’ve done for the entire year. The big importance for me is to not make this into anything bigger than it already is, so whether it’s a small local tournament or a match with Tanquinho at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, the same, hard, consistent training never changes.”

Gianni at the NY Open. Photo: Erin Herle
Gianni at the NY Open. Photo: Erin Herle

For both athletes, there’s no point in fretting over the other’s game. Each will plan their own strategies based on their own abilities. We know Tanquinho as a well-rounded athlete, able to handle the stand-up portion of the match as well as the berimbolos. He plans to make sure he is in shape and ready for no surprises. Gianni knows that Tanquinho will come out giving 100% so he knows he must be ready.

The excitement of the match is expected for both spectator and athlete alike. While the match can go any way, Gianni plans that it will be one to watch and that he will give everything he has.

Tanquinho’s expectations are firm: “I’m expecting a good match, Gianni is a talented kid! I’m training to win, doesn’t matter how! I left the BJJ scene as a world champion and I’ll show everyone that I still am the number one feather weight of the world.”

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