Absolute champion Lucas Hulk talks Las Vegas Open campaign

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A focused Hulk at the Las Vegas Open. IBJJF.

Lucas Barbosa was the big winner of the Las Vegas Open, which ended last weekend. The Atos fighter dominated the medium heavyweight and open divisions, winning five bouts with four submissions.

His open-division final was against Yan Lucas of Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu. “I knew Yan was a tough athlete, and I won on advantages,” Barbosa told Graciemag. “I put my takedown game into practice and almost managed to finish the fight at certain points, but he defended well against my choke attempt — he’s tough. Yan was a world champion in the brown belt, and he has beaten tough athletes like Mahamed Aly. But I was able to apply my game, I had good moments in the fight, and I walked away with the win.

“I arrived from Abu Dhabi last week and was still feeling a little jet-lagged, and I had trained only a few times — I think twice — before the championship. I was thinking about not fighting in the Open, but André Galvão talked to me, motivated me, and I went to fight. I felt good during the competition, and now I’m adjusting to the time zone.”

A two-time no-gi world champion, Barbosa aims to finally win the gi title this year. “Every championship I fight in is a warm-up to the Worlds and the big championships,” he said. “It’s always good to fight in the IBJJF’s opens, because, as well as winning some good points for the ranking, there’s a good level, and you get to prepare for the bigger tournaments. I think I was lacking experience to win the Worlds. I only have a year and a half as a black-belt, and each day, with each championship, I’m learning more. I’m also training a lot with the Atos people, and my teacher has been helping me a lot. It’s necessary to have calm, really, and to train hard. I’m feeling good, and I think this Worlds will be different.”

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