Tanquinho and the mission of dismembering the Atos squadron

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Tanquinho in battle with Gui Mendes / Photo: Luca Atalla

When GRACIEMAG.com announced August Tanquinho would be competing in the World Pro under-65-kg division, the comments board on the site went off the hook, mainly with talk of the mission the fighter was tasked with of facing the army Atos had signed up in the weigh group: Eduardo Ramos, Ary Farias, Bruno Frazatto, and the Mendes brothers, Rafael and Guilherme.

On the first day of gi-clad combat Tanquinho had to get through three of these representatives to secure his spot in the final.

“I was really pleased this first day. I ended up in a really thorny bracket and knew I’d have to get past the Atos athletes. I treated each match like it were a final – I gave my all, and it was worth it. In the first match I faced the excellent Ryan Hall and won by 3-2, I passed his guard and he swept me. Next, I fought Ary Farias, who was riding his win at the Europeans, and it was a great match. I took him down, then he swept me and I managed to sweep him back to end with a score of 4-2 on points. In the quarterfinals I met up with Guilherme Mendes, who I’d already beaten at the Brazilian Team Nationals last year, and this time, as a six-minute match, things were more complicated. The score was 4-4 on points and I won on advantages. Now the semifinal was against Ed Ramos, also from Atos, and he had only had one match up until that point. I tried not to think about that, I just went out there and did my job. He was disqualified after the match ended for cursing the ref. But time had already run out and I was winning 2-1 on advantage points,” he says.

Now Tanquinho is confirmed for a fourth showdown with Atos. He will enter the final against Rafael Mendes, one of the biggest names in present day Jiu-Jitsu.

“I respect Rafael a lot, but I’m confident I can put up a good fight against him. There are a lot of folks out there who know how difficult it is to beat everyone from Atos on the same day, and I proved that everyone’s the same when on the mat. Rafa is a great champion, but when we meet this Saturday I’m going to do my best to take this title. Rafael needs no introduction, he’s always confident and he’s on a roll, he hardly makes any mistakes at all in his matches. I believe we’ll put on a great show for the crowd.”

And it seems like the rivalry has already gripped Abu Dhabi – some extra added spice for the decider.

“There are a few more things I want to say: the Atos folks here are saying that I use underhanded techniques to win, that I induce the ref into disqualifying the athletes, that what I’m doing is wrong. . . I feel people need to have respect. I don’t lack respect for anyone, and what happens on the mat stays on the mat. They’re forgetting about all the criticism they had thrown at them when they’d use the 50/50 and stall a match. They complain that, when they get me in that type of guard, I cajole the ref into disqualifying them. I don’t want anyone to get disqualified, all I want is to open the loop – so much so that when they do open the 50/50, I pass guard. I have nothing to do with any decision the referees make and whether they do or do not decide to disqualify someone. There are some athletes who don’t know you have to keep your leg out of a prohibited area; I know the rule and use it in my favor. I feel that everyone wants to win, but I understand that knowing how to lose is tough for some folks. I always have respect for all the athletes and I’m always available to face anyone. Win or lose, I just want to put in a good performance,” he says in closing.

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