At the 2014 IBJJF European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Lucio “Lagarto” Rodrigues took home the gold in the black belt super heavyweight division, his tenth time at the event. In the final he met with American world champion Rafael Lovato Jr. After spending most of the time on bottom, he was able to secure the sweep, two points and the gold.
Seeing Lagarto compete is a rare occasion given that he does not travel to the World Championship and Pan American Championship. With Europeans as his way to shine, the Gracie Barra black belt represented well, proving he is still a top competitor.
During the final match with Lovato, a lot of guard were used by Lagarto, showing off his eclectic and flexible style. See what he has to say about both in this interview:
GRACIEMAG: What made you decide to pull guard with Lovato?
LUCIO RODRIGUES: I just thought that was the best thing to do at the moment, in order to avoid his game plan!
You played many guards in the match: leg lasso, spider guard, single leg x, even a butterfly hook or two and x-guard. What do all of these guards have in common and why did you choose to use all of them against him?
Yes, in my game I use a lot of different guards and my main idea is to get underneath as soon as possible. If I can’t, then I start to use variations of open guard. But all the positions can connect really well as long you know what to use in the right time.
You play a flexible game for such a big guy. What advice can you offer bigger guys about being flexible?
With everything I do in life I think about being as healthy as possible. I took the example of my master, Carlos Gracie Jr: Every day he used to stretch at least 30 minuntes before training, and after. So it’s not just the big guys but every single person should worry about flexibility. The other big point is, you will lose a lot of positions if you are not flexible!
Watch the full match between Lagarto and Lovato to see the flexible guards in action: