The beefed up security guard at Clube de Regatas do Flamengo club was thrilled with what he saw in Gavea. “Hey, how’s that happen? The guy is all buffed up and that skinny guy went in there and messed him up!” he said grinning.
And he takes the reporter aside to explain a bit of Jiu-Jitsu theory to him, it’s effectiveness in self-defense, the ground as a leveler of the playing field, and the security guard didn’t even care, he was dying to watch the next match at Brazil’s final qualifier for the World Pro, held in the Hélio Maurício gymnasium.
With ex-athletes in several sports from the club present, teachers like Ze Mario Sperry and Roberto Gordo and model and practitioner Paulo Zulu, the championship organized by Fernando Paradeda and Cao Monteiro brought the best of Jiu-Jitsu to Rio de Janeiro.
Strolling around toting a spanking new Flamengo jersey with “Adriano” emblazoned on it, Paradeda, a Southern Brazilian supporter of team Gremio, was the butt of the Rio de Janeiro natives’ jokes, until he revealed: “This is a gift from the club to Sheikh Mohammad. We’ll deliver it to him there in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
The two competitors to qualify at blue belt were Mateus Luckmann (Alliance, under 73kg) and Celso Frabetti (Barbosa, over 73kg). Check out the scenes from the purple, brown and black belt division.
Female division at breaking point
“That’s what I call ‘No Limit’ (A Brazilian radical reality show translating to “Breaking Point”)” was the pun, when the timer prevented Luanna Alzuguir (Alliance) from stretching out the arm of Ana Maria “India” (Checkmat) after scoring 20 to 0 in the under 63kg final. The participant in the Brazilian reality show had a solid showing in her return to competition, and showed she is gaining tournament pace.
The run up to the final showed she is in fine form. “It was bad but it was good,” she said about the final, while Luanna took a picture with a Canadian fan who asked “Porr favorr” in Portuguese. “We’re going to the Middle East!” shouted a vibrant Luanna, one of the favorites to take the title in the Emirates. The ace from Alliance only competed in Rio because she lost on points to Beatriz Mesquita in the Gramado tryouts. Now, everyone is waiting for a second encounter between the two favorites – in the Americas or in the Middle East.
“I didn’t get the submission, Dad”
Over 63kg champion Luzia Fernandes (Gracie Barra Detonando) comes from a family of fighters from Mato Grosso, and called home as soon as she beat Carla Roberto, also from Gracie Barra. “Hi, Dad. No, I didn’t get the finish. She didn’t leave her arms exposed; she has a short neck as well, so there was no way,” she told Francisco, her fighter father. There was no cause for complaint: the black belt won with one of the most sightly takedowns on Sunday, and heads to Abu Dhabi as a clear favorite in the category.
How do you deal with Rafael Mendes?
Rafael Mendes finished the final against Theodoro Canal with a smile on his face and the sword celebration of always, the gesture used in victory by team Atos. When passing the current under 65kg champion of the Abu Dhabi World Pro, someone uttered: “If there were a third tryout tomorrow you’d enter, wouldn’t you?” Rafa smiled and nodded.
On his Path to the qualifier title, Mendes submitted all six opponents. “You just can’t fight him,” said a discouraged opponent after coming up against the Rio Claro native’s game of getting in a tangle, sweeping and coming up with the finish. Rafa now travels with brother Guilherme, the winner in Gramado. “We want to close out the division over there,” they warn.
A match thrilling beyond measure
The under 74kg category went off with the balanced and exciting match between three-time world champion Celsinho Venicius and two-time world champion Mário Reis, but the final with the Gordo student and Gilbert Durinho (Atos) reached fever pitch. Celsinho swept, got a takedown, and was beating the current lightweight world runner-up in advantages when, on his feet, Gilbert managed to grab onto his opponent’s back near the edge of the area. Upon returning to the middle of the mat, he took the back, rallying back at the very end to the delight of the crowd from Atos, in the stands.
“He really did win. I thought I had another takedown but whatever. I felt the lack of pace, but I’m coming back,” said Celsinho afterwards. The only unpleasant part was a harsh conversation after the match, when Celso felt disrespected and put on an angry face, but Durinho preempted. “If I offended you, I apologize,” hastened Durinho, with a friendly embrace. “I’ve been competing against all those guys for two years ago and never disrespected anyone. I’m not going to put up with someone making faces and pulling my gi while the fight has been stopped because that’s disrespect” Celsinho would say. In the end, peace prevailed.
“Want to wager 100?”
Incorrigible referee Luiz Kblinho guaranteed Paradeda there would be an encounter between Delson Pé de Chumbo and Davi Silva, who both come from Gracie Barra and train Jiu-Jitsu and MMA together.
“And Davi’s going to finish on this arm here, want to bet 100?” Laughing, Paradeda walked away. Kblinho was lucky, because in the end Pé de Chumbo was an impregnable fortress, was on top the whole time and earned the airfare on advantage points. The rookie Davi had finished all his matches in the lead-up to the final. Not against the burly Pé de Chumbo.
Bad knee, good head
Current heavyweight champion of the World Pro Rodolfo Vieira even beat Braulio Estima in Abu Dhabi last year, but not even that softened the hearts of the organizers. After losing the final of the qualifiers in Gramado, Rodolfo had to face Léo Nogueira (Alliance), Braga Neto (Gordo) and Alexandre Souza on the same day. To make matters worse, Souza fell and landed on Vieira’s knee a minute into the match.
“These people love me, they only give me tough opponents. I thought this year they’d would make things easy for me, but nope,” he laughed. It was an epic conquest for Rodolfo, who sunk a choke on Netão and beat Souza by a decision in the final, after a tie in advantage points. The fight was extremely evenly matched, but the judges had no doubts: 2 to 1 for the beast from GFTeam, who this morning went to the hospital to check on his knee.
A brown belt makes it through
With the level as high as it was this weekend, it seemed unlikely a brown belt could cut in line and earn a place in Abu Dhabi. In the over 92kg category, for example, the clear favorite was Augusto Ferrari, a Barbosa student who popularized the jegueplata, a submission as odd as it is effective.
At the other end of the bracket, however, was guard specialist Marcus “Bochecha” de Almeida. On GRACIEMAG.com on Saturday, a reader would say, “You didn’t mention Bochecha? You’ll be talking about him after the event, ei!” Sure enough, losing by three advantages, the Rodrigo Cavaca student rallied back against Ferrari with 15 seconds till the end of the final with an interesting maneuver that saw him onto his opponent’s back. The final whistle was the signal for Bochecha to break into tears, with a sensational golden ending to the tryouts.