Victor Estima gets out from brother’s shadow and wins

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Middleweight Victor Estima came to the 2011 No-Gi Worlds prepared to win, but the reason he was ready for the tournament was because he’d been helping big brother Braulio with his preparations for his superfight against Ronaldo Jacaré, which he won. “After my brother’s fight, I had to push to stay in good standard,” Victor says, “I wanted to fight at the ADCC, but I didn’t know if I was going to get an invitation or not. So, I kept pushing, training for the No-Gi Worlds.”

"Carcarazinho" and crew at No-Gi Worlds / Photos by Deb Blyth; homepage photo by Dan Rod

Seven days before the ADCC, Victor got his invite. “I was really happy,” he says, “I lost to Marcelo Garcia in the quarterfinals. Then I went to the absolute and competed against João Assis. I won 4-0. It was a big win for me. I fought well.” Up next was Pablo Popovitch. The challenge of that match was that the two had been training together prior to the ADCC, so they knew each other’s games. “He took me down and got two points,” Victor says, “Overall, it was a very good experience. Not just the matches but the rules are different at the ADCC’s, and I learned a lot.”

Victor came to the No-Gi Worlds knowing he had a tough game to beat. He’d improved his game specifically for this tournament and felt very comfortable within himself. Victor had three matches in his middleweight division and won all three by footlocks, even the final against Thiago Aragão of Checkmat BJJ, who he’d never fought before. “My footlocks worked really well today,” he says, “They were effortless. I was never tired. I’ve been preparing at such a high level. I’ve learned how to be a different fighter… I had to learn to pace myself. I used to lose by gassing out, so I wanted to improve my game.” Victor says there’s always room to improve no matter how good you are.

Victor is absolutely thrilled with his new world championship title. He’s finally broken through that “world champion barrier” that competitors face, and he hopes it means he’ll be able to do it again and again now. “It’s the biggest thing for me to get this Worlds title,” he beams, “I’ve been training for 12 years for this. It’s my first world championship win. I’ve beaten champions before, but I’ve never won myself. I’m so happy I’ve broken through now.”

At 26 years old, Victor was beginning to wonder if it was possible. “I have a wife and a one-year-old baby; I have a really busy schedule – I have to teach seven hours a day,” he says, “There aren’t too many people out there doing all that and winning. It’s been a really good thing for me to do this. I want winning championships to be my priority but it’s not.” Victor says he feels really fortunate to have Braulio as a big brother. “I couldn’t ask for a better brother,” he says, “He’s changed my way of playing the game.”

Victor has a lot of work to do when he gets back home but he’s not going to let up on his training. He wants to stay in the supreme shape he’s currently in. “I will compete in every competition next year,” he says, “I want to make the most out of the rhythm I have going… just like Durinho did. I realize how much time he put into winning the Worlds this year. It didn’t just happen. He kept it going. I need to get my world title in the gi now.”

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