Rômulo Barral had an excellent campaign at the World Championship, having beaten the likes of Murilo Santana, Bernardo Faria and Xande Ribeiro. With his spot in the absolute final guaranteed, the fighter ended up pulling out due to an injury sustained while trying to escape a fully sunk kneebar in the medium heavyweight final gainst Tarsis Humphreys. He was thus unable to fight for the gold medal in the main division against Roger Gracie. Barral had a chat with GRACIEMAG.com about his injury and much more.
How is your injury and when do you foresee returning to training?
My knee is better. I tore my collateral medial ligament and partially tore another. I have to wait another month to see what my recovery will be like. There’s no forecast for my return as of yet.
Tell us about your absolute semifinal match with Xande. Do you feel it was one of the great victories of your career?
It was a tough fight as always. Xande’s an excellent fighter and it was surely a great win, but not unlike the others. I only faced big names, like Murilo Santana, Bernardo Faria, Guto Campos… All of them are great athletes and they were great wins that marked my career.
What about the match with Tarsis, did you get injured or submitted?
Tarsis attacked me with a kneebar. When he started to stretch it out, I spun to escape, but I spun the wrong way. My knee popped a lot. The truth is that I should have given up the position. That would have been the best option because I could have given up the sweep or even the kneebar and tried to escape. I didn’t think about it at the time, and got injured. Before I stopped I even talked to Draculino (Barral’s teacher). He asked me to try some more, but I really couldn’t. I don’t want to take credit from Tarsis, he fought really well and managed to attack from that position. But I feel that, if I hadn’t popped my knee, I would have been able to continue. I don’t know if it was a submission, but that doesn’t matter much to me. I would have even preferred he submit me from my back; then I would have been able to fight in the absolute final, which was my greater objective. That’s how the sport goes, and I’m glad Tarsis got the title, as he’s been fighting for it since he was a blue belt.
Do you feel the position he applied was within the rules?
Totally. I just spun the wrong way. Tarsis is not to blame.
What do you think of Roger Gracie’s showing at the event?
Roger is above the overall level; he’s the only one who doesn’t get an easy match, is always good and I believe there will be no room for surprises, like there was last year.
Was it really frustrating to not fight in the absolute final?
For sure. Only those who were with me during my preparations know what I went through. I’m not going to talk about it; I don’t think it’s worth it. I really wanted to be in the final. That’s what I was there for, to try for the absolute, the only title I don’t yet have.
That’s what I was there for, to try for the absolute” Barral
When and in which events will we be likely to see you again?
I think only next year. I’ll be in the ADCC and I hope to get an invite in advance because last time I was the only one to accept at the last minute and fought two weight divisions above mine. I also want to be in the World Pro and the Worlds.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me along the way: my family and wife, the ones who give me the most strength. Next year I’ll be back to fight for the absolute and, of course, my weight group again. I learn more with every year and next year I promise a lot more. My preparations have begun. I thank God for giving me the strength to do what I love most.