Tipped in GRACIEMAG #167 as one of the best athletes of 2010, Michael Langhi keeps on proving how he’s deserving of it. Without tasting defeat since the 2008 Worlds, the Alliance black belt was one of the standouts at the World Pro tryouts in Rio this Saturday, qualifying in the under 74kg division. Now next Friday the beast will embark for Lisbon, where he will dispute the European Open.
Check out the conversation he had with GRACIEMAG.com:
How did the event go for you?
I had five fights in all and got the finish in the first four. The semifinal was against Zé Carlos, who surprised a bunch of black belts, despite his only being a brown belt. The kid is really tough, but I managed to pass his guard and catch his arm. Then I faced Durinho, who is at an excellent technical level. When he pulled guard, thank God I managed to get the takedown. Then I extended his arm, but he managed to defend. In the end we kind of locked up, but it was a good fight, and he is to be congratulated. I’m really happy, since it was the first championship since my shoulder surgery and it’s great to return with a win, even more so in such a thorny division. That gave me a lot of confidence for the upcoming European Open.
Your recovering shoulder didn’t seem to hinder you at all this event…
I had to stop Jiu-Jitsu for a while because of the operation on my shoulder I had after the Worlds, but I carried on strong with my physical conditioning. So I’d been preparing for these events since October. On December 31st I was training with Fabio Gurgel, so I’d kept a good pace.
Now the European Open is coming up. How are you going to organize yourself to later compete at the Pan and World Pro, them being so close together?
I’m going to cut my stay in Europe short compared to last year. I’m going to go to Germany after the Euro Open and only stay there for twenty days and prepare myself for the Pan. There are a lot of good training partners in Germany, too. I’ll be hard at it up until the Worlds!
What are your expectations in trying for your second title in Abu Dhabi?
The first installment I paid to be at out of my own pocket and I won. I had tough matches and even beat Claudio Calasans in the semifinal; he won his weight group and the absolute at the second event, he’s an excellent athlete. The event raises the athletes’ stock and provides fantastic structure. Last year I saved myself for the Worlds because of my shoulder, but this year I’m going to try for my second title over there. I always expect the best and I love the adrenaline from competing. I’m going to fight!
To find out more about Michael Langhi and the rest of Jiu-Jitsu’s top flight, secure the next issue of GRACIEMAG, #167, by subscribing here.