Rodolfo’s flair and the Rio Open scoop

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Rodolfo beat Léo Nogueira on two occasions. Photo: Gustavo Aragão

Anyone who kept up with’s coverage of the Rio Open noticed how GFTeam prodigy Rodolfo Vieira was the big standout, winning his weight group and the absolute. But there was no lack of solid matches this Saturday, a day of deciders at the Tijuca Tennis Club in Rio de Janeiro.

At heavyweight, Rodolfo only needed to face Léo Nogueira (Alliance), in a repeat of the 2009 semifinal. After warding off a few sweep attempts, he got his knee on his opponent’s belly (5 to 0). At the other end of the bracket was Ricardo Evangelista, who tapped two opponents. He won his semifinal match with a choke after scoring 16 to 0. The heavyweight division was dominated by the students of Master Julio Cesar.

Rested for the absolute decider, Rodolfo beat Nogueira again, this time by a score of 12 to 4. Léo swept times, while Vieira swept twice, passed twice and got a knee on his adversary’s belly. Saulo Ribeiro watched on attentively from the other end of the area, seemingly checking out the new up-and-coming talent. In the bandstands, the greatest jubilation came from Rodolgo’s parents, proud of the son who left Campo Grande, Rio de Janeiro, to shine on the world’s mats.

At roosterweight, Rufino “Morcego” Gomes came from Paraiba state dying for a medal. That’s why, after submitting his adversaries in the elimination phase, he didn’t spare his CheckMat teammate in the decider. He submitted Igor Rodrigues with a quick armbar. At light featherweight it was Gabriel Moraes (Monteiro) who came out on top, winning two matches before facing off with Samir Chantre (Gracie Fighter). Gabriel showed his prowess by submitting Leandro Martins (CheckMat) with a choke from back mount. Now Samir submitted two opponents en route to the final, one of them stalwart Bernardo Pitel (Nova União). Gabriel got the best of the final. The win went to the city of Manaus on advantage points.

Mário tries for choke on Theodoro. Photo: Gustavo Aragão

Before the final against Theodoro Canal (GFTeam), in the featherweight group, Mário Reis (Gracie Barra) submitted three opponents all with chokes from back mount. Against Theodoro there was a sweep-swapping spree. Mário wreaked havoc with a gogoplata choke and then went on an all-out armbar assault. The Southern Brazilian added yet another gold medal to his extensive collection.

After getting a wrist-lock finish and having to sweat to beat an athlete from Japan (4 to 2), Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes (Soul Fighters) secured his spot in the final. At the other end of the bracket, Tiago Rocha (Alliance) caught all his opponents by surprise. He almost did the same to Tanquinho in the final with a sweep. Tanquinho even had to get his opponent off his back, but rallied back by passing guard and bringing the tally to 3 to 2.

Before the Rio Open this reporter forgot to cite here on the name Luis Gustavo (Check Mat), 2009’s champion, as being among the favorites to win the title. Readers wailed and the mistake was corrected. And they were right, as Guga swept three opponents and went into the final against another of Gracie Barra Pernambuco’s stalwart opponents, Bruno Alves. The match was extremely hard fought. Guga was losing by a sweep when a sweep materialized in the waning moments. The move drew the scorecards and he took the win by judges’ decision. Two-time champion!

Kleber Buiú and Felipe Cranivata secured the medium heavyweight title for Gracie Barra. Each of the Jefferson Moura students had to beat two opponents to do so, and beat them on points. Now in the super heavyweight division, Igor Silva submitted two by armbar. In the final against Bruno Bastos (Nova União), who won the International Master the day before, Igor landed two takedowns, swept and landed in the mount. The Muzio de Angelis student, who represents GFTeam, took top spot on the podium.

And lastly, Agnaldo Rodrigues (Gracie Barra/Liberi) proved he’s got a firm grasp on the kimura hold. That’s how he won his first match and third match, against Gabriel Igenito (GFTeam). In his second Agnaldo got the finish too, but with a triangle.

In the team tally Gracie Barra was the big winner of the Rio Open, followed by Nova União and Gracie Humaitá.

For complete results, click here.

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