Yuri Simões was the protagonist of the most thrilling match of last Saturday’s Metamoris 5.
The gi battle between him and Keenan Cornelius made the crowd roar with submission attempts from side to side.
In this exclusive interview for GRACIEMAG.com, Simões talks about the experience and what lessons he took from the 20 minutes against Keenan.
GRACIEMAG.com: How was the experience of a 20-minute-submission-only match?
Yuri Simões: It was different, I had never fought under this kind of rules. I train with no time limit often, but had never competed in this setting before. I gave the best of me to win and it was a great experience regardless of the outcome.
Your opponent was going to be Rafael Lovato Jr and it changed to Keenan Cornelius one week before the match. How did that change your training program and mindset for the event?
In terms of preparation, the intensity and hours of training continued the same. But the strategy totally changed because Keenan is a completely different fighter to Lovato. Rafael’s game is more predictable, but he is stronger and more experienced. Keenan is more flexible, versatile and unpredictable overall. Nevertheless, I was prepared to play forward and be effective against both.
Your best moment in the match was a leg lock that made everyone think Keenan would tap, but he didn’t. What was missing there for the submission to happen?
I needed to believe more in that leg lock. Because he is very flexible, I didn’t believe I would get the tap there. I only realized that it was tight when I heard his knee pop twice. He was really tough for not tapping there. Other than that, at the very end of the match I had a heel hook in place and the rule said that the fight would continue if a submission was in place. The referee came talk to me afterwards and said he was sorry he stopped the match.
A little over a month before Metamoris, you fought and beat Keenan in the Worlds No-Gi open class final. Did that match helped you in any way?
Every fight is a different fight. I know he is one of the best at the time and that I needed to train as hard as I could to beat him again. It was a tie, but I’m glad my Jiu-Jitsu was not only offensive, but that I also managed to escape from some dangerous situations.