World middleweight runner-up Claudio Calasans’ spirits weren’t dampened by coming up a hair short at the World Championship, as he took top honors at Desafio Black Belt de Jiu-Jitsu, an event held in Vale do Anhangabaú, São Paulo State. In getting his hands on the BRL 10,000 prize, the Atos representative beat three opponents on his way to the final, where he met up with superheavyweight world champion Leonardo Nogueira. Find out what lessons he learned and what he did to win in the following interview.
What was winning the absolute GP like? How did it go?
I had four matches in all. In won the first by 9 to 0, against an athlete from Cícero Costha, and beat Adriano Silva by 4 to 0 in the second. In the semifinal I tapped out [Luiz Felipe] Big Mac with a leglock, and in the final I beat Leonardo Nogueira by 3-2. I think that shows my consistency at high-level championships, both in the absolute and in my weight group. The event was well run, the promoters are to be congratulated. Thank God I came out the champion.
How was the match with Léo Nogueira?
I beat Léo Nogueira in the final by 3-2. There was a lot of attack; both of us on the offensive the whole time. I sunk some subs but he did well in defending. It was from one of those sub attempts that I managed a guard pass, and at the end of the match, with about a minute to go, he swept me. It was a great fight. The crowd watching cheered from start to finish.
What did you learn from the achievement?
What was interesting was that the GP was held outdoors, not in a gymnasium like we’re used to. And there were a lot of people watching. It was a new experience for me. I really like competing like that. I used the fact that it was outdoors as extra motivation to win. I think I left this one with more confidence to compete in other absolutes, since I beat the guys who tend to win the main tournaments.
What was the toughest moment in the tournament, and how did you overcome it?
The toughest match was against Big Mac—despite my finishing him with a leglock. But the finish only came at the end of the match. I felt I could have hang with him on the feet but decided to go with the strategy of calling him into my guard and letting him get comfortable on top. I had to keep pushing him away the whole time, which tired my legs out really qui8ck. So I was fighting in hopes of finding an opportunity, which came at the right time. I found his leg and managed the tapout.
What went through your head when you finished him?
I believe that every time I attack for a submission it depends on my confidence; that is, if I sink the hold I have to believe I can finish, whatever the situation may be. I see a lot of folks sinking holds and being afraid of the opponent’s countermove. I don’t think like that. When I go for finishes, the only thing I’m thinking about is getting my opponent to tap. Of course you have to always keep a card up your sleeve for in case the opponent defends, but plan A should always be to get him to tap.
How about a pointer on a finish for our readers?
The best pointer I can share with readers isn’t a technique; it’s more of a strategy. For example: if I’m in a match where I can’t manage to sweep or pass guard, I look to attack with submissions to oblige my opponent to give up the sweep or pass in order not to tap out. From those attacks come the rewards, since I either get the tapout or, if he defends, I get the points and usually end up in a position of advantage from where to launch new attacks.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my sponsors: Keiko, the city of São José dos Campos, and Construtora Dado. Thank you all for believing in me. Now anyone interested in a seminar of mine can contact me via email—email@example.com. And thanks for the interview, GRACIEMAG.