The Long Beach pyramid was nearly empty that Saturday night of the 2010 World Championship. Even so, there was still quite a ruckus coming from the crowd cheering for the two finalists. The match didn’t happen, just the arm of the victor being raised after the athletes from team CheckMat in the brown belt absolute closed out the final. The arm raised was that of Vinícius “Bochecha” Almeida.
Later on, at the podium, the same cheering section chimed in with a chant that promised major emotions for the very venue one year later. “Hey, Roger Gracie, wait and see, your time will come!” they roared. At the top of the podium, Bochecha, who had just turned 20, was all smiles. His black belt soon followed and Bochecha kept up the solid results – the main one coming at the 2011 Pan, where he won the superheavyweight division.
With the Worlds approaching, all signs pointed to the showdown foreshadowed in the song happening, but Roger’s absence poured a bucket of ice water on those expectations. Less than a week before kick off at the contest in Long Beach, Bochecha spoke with the GRACIEMAG at the Worlds Blog about what he expects from his performance, lamented the Gracie’s no show, pointed out his strengths and defects, and revealed the less-than-modest dreams he has for his career.