South American Champs Comment on Conquests

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Rayfan Barbosa atop the podium at the 2012 South American Championship / Personal archive photo

Diminutive, black belts, Jiu-Jitsu champions–what else do Igor Rordigues and Rayfan Barbosa have in common?

Both won gold at the South American Jiu-Jitsu Championship. After coming up with their hard-fought medals, they interviewed each other at’s request.

Igor, a CheckMat representative hailing from the town of Buzios, won the roosterweight division. Rayfan, an Associação Monteiro Jiu-Jitsu black belt, judo expert and las student from Manaus, took the light featherweight title at last weekend’s tournament.

IGOR RODRIGUES: What’s up, Rayfan? How did your campaign at the 2012 South American Championship, and what did you learn?

RAYFAN BARBOSA: I learned that the CBJJ South American Championship is a high-level competition, just like the Brazilian Nationals. This year there were a bunch of renowned athletes, and each year it gets tougher. To paint you a picture, of my three matches, in the semifinal I faced a world champion; in final a South American champion! It was an excellent experience.

IGOR: That’s right, it was rough. I wasn’t in my best shape. I had a motorcycle accident that kept me from training properly, nearly broke my foot… And which was your toughest match?

RAYFAN: The final, against Leandro Martins, I think. But all my opponents were exceptional too. But as I’m also a judoka–I was champion of Brazil in 2009 and runner-up in 2012–, I realized Leandro’s game mas similar to mine: get the takedown and pass. So I used judo to get the throw, and I did a more compact ground game, without leaving much wriggle room. He’s a really strong athlete, so I had to be careful with his shots. What about you? How did your final with Marcos Franco of Gracie Barra go?

IGOR: I went all out early on and got the sense that he got a bit lost. That’s when I found an opening to get him with the keylock.

RAYFAN: Well done. So that’s it, readers. Remember that sports mean health, discipline, and that you need to be a true athlete 100% of the time to evolve in Jiu-Jitsu and try to be the best in the world. As my father and instructor says, you have to follow the four commandments: pray, study, work and train.

To find out who won the South American Jiu-Jitsu Championship, click here.

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