Tanquinho: “hitting the sauna was worth it”

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Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes was the runner-up in his world championship debut in the featherweight division, and he showed up on the scene causing quite a stir, beating Rubens Cobrinha in the semifinal.

Of course, the Soul Fighters athlete loved facing the four-time world champion – unlike Cobrinha, as you read here on GRACIEMAG.com yesterday.

“I got a takedown, he got the sweep and then I swept. I watched the match over and noted how we never landed in that 50/50 guard, so it was a much better final to watch than the one against Rafa, for example. Going down in weight paid off; hitting the sauna was worth it. I nearly made it, only an advantage point separated me from the gold, but it was worthwhile. But I still haven’t decided whether I’ll stay at featherweight; I’m going to rest, eat right, and decide later,” explained Tanquinho, who lost the final to two-time world champion Rafael Mendes on advantage points.

Runner-up Tanquinho (in blue) balances himself against Rafa Mendes in the featherweight final. Photo: Ivan Trindade.

At team Soul Fighters, Cobrinha caused a bit of a stir with his interview, where he gave credit to Tanquinho but alleged to be the victim of evasive maneuvers during the match and asked that there be more penalties awarded.

Augusto’s brother, Bruno “Tanque”, defended the win over Facebook.

“Obviously statements made by a four-time world champion and legend of the sport will echo more than those from other people. And I and my team have great respect for the opinion of Cobrinha, who is someone who was always my idol and did a lot for Jiu-Jitsu’s evolution as a sport.

“I agree when Cobrinha spoke about the rules, that they can make fights more dynamic. But I didn’t understand what he meant to say by ‘influence’ over the referees. Tanquinho benefited from that? The match was broadcast live over the internet and is on video-sharing sites… well, not then nor know did I read or hear any comments about Cobrinha being robbed or Tanquinho having benefited.

“Each person has their way of fighting, and if they look at Tanquinho’s background they’ll see he gets the finish in most of his matches. And frankly speaking, without being a hypocrite, finishing is great, but the reality is that finishes happen in the preliminary matches. Once the elite or super elite athletes come through the funnel, you can count on your fingers the finishes. The only one who can talk is named Roger Gracie, who gets everybody.

“I don’t want anyone to take me wrong, since what I teach and preach to my students is that they have to fight for the finish, but high performance evens matches out to the point where to finish someone has to make a gross tactical mistake during the match.

“And, from the moment Jiu-Jitsu became a sport onwards, people have lost a bit of the notion of what Jiu-Jitsu really is. Jiu-Jitsu is much more than a sweep, armbar, reversal, spider-guard and whatnot… Why don’t I hear any world champion saying self-defense is the most important part of Jiu-Jitsu, that it is the foundation for everything that’s being done today?

“There are ‘BJJ’ black belts who’ve never done a self-defense position in their life. Why isn’t anybody criticizing that?

“What is most worrying is when Cobrinha said he watched other matches and saw that four of them were in 50/50 guard. Anyone who watched the event and watches championships knows how most matches today end up in this position. That truly is worrying. Before it came about, the 50/50 was a resource for those who kow how to use this type of guard; these days everyone wants to do it, but the truth is that most of them don’t know how, and that’s why matches end up stalling, because it really is a stalling position.

“I agree that something needs to be done, but not just by the sport’s board of directors. It mainly the Jiu-Jitsu teachers who are the first to shout from the corner – Hang on, one minute to go!

“Serious schools like Cobrinha’s own preach and appreciate attacking Jiu-Jitsu, but most of them teach (and will continue to teach) what we’re seeing today.

Bruno ‘Tanque’ Mendes”


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There are 16 comments for this article
  1. NZbro at 4:49 pm

    I lost my second match at 2011 Worlds because I left the top position in a 2-2 tie, to try and get the bow and arrow with 30 seconds left in the match. He escaped and went on top and went up 4-2. Had I stayed on top I would of won on advantages. Was that dumb to go for the sub that late? IDK but I went for it, and became a spectator early because of it.

    • M R Roag at 6:41 am

      It sounds like you might want to clean up that transition… or try to learn some submissions from the top. It wasn’t dumb unless you don’t practice that choke often. However, if he was in the choke and escaped… and you got the advantage, he should not have gotten points.

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