Two names have monopolized the roosterweight division for almost ten years now. But a 23-year-old Amazonian athlete, who now lives and trains in Dallas, wants to put an end to it. After winning four gold medals this season, the black belt Lucas Pinheiro arrives confident seeking his first Jiu-Jitsu World title in the blackbelt division, which starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday in Long Beach, California.
“My training camp was great for this World Championship,” he told Graciemag. “I trained as hard as I could, I diet very well and did a great job of physical preparation. After I made the Pan Ams final with Bruno Malfacine and the Miami Open final against João Miyao, I’ve been focusing more on technique details, berimbolo defense, lapel sweeping… I surely will fight for every position and every detail. I am ready for all the situations that may happen during the fights. I’m focused, prepared, happy and eager to compete.”
The black belt’s brackets are out, and Lucas has analyzed all possible scenarios. On Saturday, he will face Takahito Yoshida, a Japanese whom he beat at last year’s World’s Championship. If he advances, he returns to the mats only on Sunday and there will be only three fights left to conquer his goal.
“Last year my first fight was also against Yoshida and, thank God, I won it,” Pinheiro said. “I hope I get the same result to advance to the quarter-finals. If everything works out well, I face Aniel Bonifácio in the quarterfinals. I have never faced him before, but of one thing I am certain: He will have to be very prepared to fight me, because I will be at my best. Winning, I’ll probably face Caio Terra in the semifinal. He’s an athlete that I respect a lot for being a World Champion. I have never faced him. I’m anxious because I want to fight the best. If we face each other, it will be a great fight. I’ll do my best to reach the final.”
Eight times world champion, Bruno Malfacine is on the other side of the bracket and is the favorite to reach another final. In their match at this year’s Pan-American Malfacine took the gold, but Lucas is confident that it can be changed in a possible final in the Worlds.
“I know that Malfacine is the favorite to win this title, but this year I came to surprise everyone,” Pinheiro said. “I want to embed my name as the world champion in the roosterweight division.”