Rafael Mendes stood out in both Brazilian tryouts for the Abu Dhabi World Pro. In Gramado he shut out the division with his brother Guilherme, who took the airfare to the main event on 17 April in Abu Dhabi. To ensure he would be there, the black belt also fought in Rio, where he got the submission in the six matches he did.
“I was confident because my training is going strong in Rio Claro; I’m focused and believe I will be champion. Now I’ll head to Abu Dhabi to defend my title and win my second in a row,” he told GRACIEMAG.com.
In the Rio qualifier, Rafa displayed a very versatile game. He got the finish from the open, closed guard, from the bottom, from the top…
“I feel we have to always look to innovate in Jiu-Jitsu, always look for new positions. And that’s what I do. I always train new positions to always evolve and not to stagnate. Things are going well with my Jiu-Jitsu and when we are confident, no one beats us. That’s what I did. I trained to be confident and I managed put to use everything I practiced in the gym. ”
Defender of the controversy guard fifty–fifty guard, Rafael proved once again his game is not limited to the position.
“I’m not thinking about that. People talked a lot about it, but as I said, the important thing is to try keep evolving and finding new and different positions. That’s what I did. I created a position that no one knew and there was all this controversy. But I’ve shown that’s not all that I do. A lot of folks said that I was a one-trick pony, but it’s just another attack. I fight with variations and don’t limit myself to just one position. I try to do everything to put on a good fight and to get the finish. Thank God it’s working,” he says.
Rafael Mendes also spoke with our collaborator Diego Marcello. Check out the video below: