Igor Paiva has good momentum going into the IBJJF Pan, scheduled for this weekend in Kissimmee, Florida, after a strong campaign at the Austin Open, one of the tournaments that marked the return of competitions organized by the federation in September. Igor was the middleweight champion and silver medalist in the master 1 absolute, after a beautiful campaign that included a win over Xande Ribeiro (Six Blades).
After four fights and two medals, Igor shared his thoughts on beating Xande and more. “He is not the first big name I’ve beat. Fighting big names in the sport has always propelled me up, never down. I’m the type of person who usually doesn’t let a good opportunity pass. I know my potential and that, when well prepared, I can fight well against anyone in the world, especially if they are in my weight class, the middleweight division.”
Of beating the two-time absolute world champion, Igor said: “I had a good start to the fight. I managed to pull with the grips I wanted, I had good control, and that enabled me to get out in front of him with the advantage of a sweep. So, I tried to use this advantage to make him try to catch up and expose himself during the fight. That was how I got another sweep advantage at the end of the fight, which ensured my victory. Very tough fight. A lot of respect for Xande and everything he did and does for our sport.”
On whether he checks out tournament brackets beforehand, Igor said: “I don’t look at the names in the category;I go in to win, and to achieve that I just have to worry about myself. Oftentimes I arrive at the competition without knowing whom I’m going to fight or how many fights I’m going to do; it makes me feel calmer, and I can flow even better at the time of the fight.”
He added: “The Pan camp is in full swing; I’m very confident. I am feeling very well physically and psychologically. My training has been about physical preparation, stretching and a lot of Jiu-Jitsu, sometimes 15 rolls a day, because, in the end, what really prepares you is Jiu-Jitsu training.”