Bruno “Highlander” reveals how to beat Rodolfo in the final

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Bruno Bastos / Photo: personal archive

One of the most seasoned veterans in the Abu Dhabi World Pro finals, Bruno Bastos is still hard at it, giving his opponents a hard time. For years, the Nova União black of master-category age has been making it to the winners’ podiums at major competitions. In the under-92 kg final this Saturday, Bruno will have Rodolfo Vieira ahead of him. In the lead-up to the upcoming excitement at the World Pro, Bastos responds to some of’s questions.

Are you immortal?! How do you stay competitive after so many years?

Thanks for the compliment! After so many years, it’s nice to hear that (laughs)! Although I may tell my students I’m the highlander, the truth is that I love what I do. . . All at the same time. It’s really tiring, but in the end, when I step onto the mat, it’s party time. I remember each and every one who steps in there with me as being part of my life, so being in there on the mat is something priceless to me. I love it so much!

Tell us about the path to the final. . .

The first match was against a local brown belt with a sturdy judo and wrestling base. I’d already faced him before, in the No-Gi championship last week, but it was easier with the gi, since he couldn’t stall so much. So I swept, mounted and passed guard. The second match was against Ricardo Evangelista, a really tough guy, and he caught be in an armbar that I managed to get out of sweeping, with just ten seconds left. I needed courage to deal with all that adrenaline (laughs)! The semifinal was against Rafael Lovato and I got an advantage right at the start by making it to his half-guard. I tried to pass but he managed to replace guard. From there on he concerned himself more with complaining to the ref than fighting, so I just rode it out till the end.

What can you do to put the brakes on Rodolfo Vieira in the final?

Fighting to win, I don’t care how else. He has youth and vigor on his side, but what he has in years of life I have in Jiu-Jitsu (21 years). He still has a long road ahead of him; I’m at a different stage in life, so I’m going to do all I can to not let this opportunity slip through my fingers, for my family and for Nova União.

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