The absolute black belt final is set in stone.
The showdown involves Antonio Braga Neto (Ralph Gracie), going for his second win in a row, and Bernardo Farias (Alliance), who took the favored fighters by surprise as one of the most consistent black belts on the day.
Both are old acquaintances, remembers Braga Neto:
– We fought as juveniles, and I remember how I never lost to him – he provokes, before returning to his humble posture.
– But tomorrow it will all be different. I’ll forget it all, and it will be a new challenge.
Braga Neto made it to the final match after scoring 10 to 0 over Antonio Peinado, who also represents Alliance.
Earlier on he choked out Matt Sulina from the back, scored 3 to 0 over Daniel Azevedo and 2 to 0 over Bruno Bastos.
During the second match, a scare:
– I took three knocks to the head and I started seeing everything double. Afterwards, it got better. I want to thank Ralph Gracie Team, which invited me to come to the USA for a series of seminars, which helped in my coming.
At the other end of the bracket, Bernardo Farias gave further proof that his name is respected among the black belts.
In the semifinal, he rallied back against Rodrigo Cavaca and ended up winning by 6 to 2, after taking the Check Mat teacher’s back.
– We repeated the absolute semi from the European and I let him pull guard on me. I messed up, and he swept me, but I managed to use my stamina in my favor, and I swept him back to get half-guard and take his back.
Before facing Cavaca, Bernardo made it past Gabriel Vella, another favorite, and a former teammate.
– Vella left the team, but there’s no problem between us. It was a great match.
In his first two bouts, Farias caught Levi Costa’s arm and scored 4 to 2 over Abmar Barbosa.
The grand finale will close out the Pan 2010, Sunday afternoon.
Stay tuned to GRACIEMAG.com to find out about all the goings-on at Bren’s Events Center in Irvine, California.