After Copa Pódio, where he lost an invitational bout to Xande Ribeiro by having his guard passed, many thought Bráulio Estima, 33, had lost his rhythm.
He suspected so himself, but he signed up for the Worlds on the last day to find out for sure.
The results were a silver medal on June 2nd, after he closed out his division with friend Romulo Barral, and an impressive showing versus André Galvão, whom he defeated, 6-2, by taking Galvão’s back.
And the following week he had enough gas left in the tank to hold Rodolfo Vieira back at Metamoris by using his new guard with foot on lapel. Rodolfo wound up with a decision win.
“I’ve been developing that guard for years, I call it guard of the galaxies,” Estima says in the following chat:
GRACIEMAG: After a long stretch of MMA-focused training, how do you evaluate your return to Jiu-Jitsu?
BRÁULIO ESTIMA: Man, I think I came back very well. If you count the hurdles I had to overcome, like the flu, an infection and an injured right hand soon before the fights, I’m quite happy with the result. I’m glad to be back and be able to compete among the strongest athletes of today.
Before you closed out the medium heavyweight class with Barral at the Mundials, you had to go through André Galvão in the semi. What’s your take on that match?
The André fight was very well crafted; I was able to impose my game and manage the ending nicely. I was able to surprise him in a few spots and thus dominate at the crucial moments. A little after the halfway mark of the match I tore my right hand ligament, which forced me to slow down and play off of his errors. I thought it was a fun fight to watch, pretty balanced. I’m happy to be back and already able to do so well against someone of his stature.
And what do you think of the Rodolfo Vieira bout, one week later?
It was very tough. I was able to keep the plan I had, though I was quite limited by my still-swollen right hand. I played the right game to hold him off, but I was lacking a bit of variety.
Rodolfo applies a truckload of pressure and he just wouldn’t quit for even a second. The guy’s a machine. At the end I tried to set a trap, but he set up an armbar very quickly and I had to struggle to get out. I escaped and attempted a knee attack, but time was up. It was a very difficult fight for the two of us.
What was that guard you used against Rodolfo?
I’ve been developing that guard for years, I call it guard of the galaxies [laughs]. I only use it when necessary, and at Metamoris, where the bout was longer, with a weight difference plus the hand injury, I had to bring it out. I think we’re going to see a lot of people using it from now on.
The goal is to nullify your opponent’s pressure and make room for several types of guard attacks. Anything can come out of there. It’s a way to leave your opponent off base and move below him.
What did you take away from that match?
That 20 minutes is a lot of time [laughs]. In this fight I learned my limitations in several situations and my advantages in others. The biggest lesson was more on a personal level – I saw I’m still fighting well enough to take on the best in the world, and that makes me excited.
I’m anxious to get back to the gym and hone my game even more, and get ready for the next challenges.