World champ Otávio Sousa teaches to lure opponents into your game

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Otávio Sousa celebrates victory in the middleweight final of the 2012 World Championship. Photo: Dan Rod/

Riding a wave of success at smaller-scale tournaments in 2012, Otávio Sousa finally made it to his first World Championship gold medal as a Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

“I’m really pleased with my performance this Worlds because I worked so hard for it. I’d been coming up short by a hair every year, but didn’t let it get me down; I forged ahead with perseverance and dedication, since I knew my moment was coming, and thank God it has arrived,” said the Zé Radiola student and 2007 Worlds absolute winner as a brown belt.

“I managed to make a dream come true this Sunday. And now I’m a world champion at every belt. The world title at black belt was the only one missing, and I’m happy that I managed to do so amid so many tough athletes, as they always are in the black belt middleweight division,” he added.

In the electrifying final against Claudio Clasans Jr. (Atos), the native of Pernambuco State snapped up the title in the last ten seconds, when he landed a sweep. He told GRACIEMAG how he did it.

“The main thing I got right in the fight was having gotten Calasans to enter my game. To do so, I had to block his strong footlock, leglock and berimbolo position, which he’s really good at—he’s really good at using it to take the back. But I was really focused, determined that victory would be mine and no one could take it from me,” said the Jiu-Jitsu professor at Gracie Barra in California.

On how he was training at Gracie Barra during the lead-up to the event, Otávio remarked that the biggest change to his routine was in the physical conditioning department.

“What I trained most and focused on at the 2012 Worlds was physical conditioning. After all, the last few times I had my technique up to date but was lacking a bit where conditioning was concerned. This time I did a good job of preparing so I’d get there at 100% and not make any silly mistakes,” said the fighter, concluding with: “I’d like to thank everyone, and the message I’d like to pass on is, ‘Always believe in yourself and persevere in no matter what you are doing. Don’t give up; your day will come some day.”

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