Bernardo Faria and the lessons of a double gold campaign at the 2015 Worlds

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Bernardo Faria finally made it to the top of the competition food chain with the black belt open class gold medal at the 2015 Worlds. Less than two weeks after the awesome performance in Long Beach, Faria talked to GRACIEMAG’s Vitor Freitas about what happened in the pyramid.

Bernardo looked back on his campaign of six matches and five submissions to tell us what was the most difficult moment. “The only match I did not win was the superheavy division final against João Gabriel Rocha, which I won 8-2. I had a lot of pressure on me at that match, once it could ruin my campaign if I’d lost it. It would be very frustrating to win weight and open class at the Pan and then win the absolute at the Worlds but lose in the weight division. João is a very tough man who last year beat a much tougher opponent than me, Rodolfo or Buchecha, which is cancer. He is a champion and I respect him a lot.”

The match against Rocha ended with the two fighters exchanging foot locks, but Bernardo seemed unbothered by it. “I have a good tolerance to attacks on my feet. I wouldn’t say I never tap to foot locks, because everyone has a breaking point and it can even come to what happened to Luiz Panza, who suffered a shin fracture at the 2015 WPJJC. João had it right, but it was the end of the match and I felt I could resist for a bit. It was hurting, but not to the point of snapping.”

Once again, Faria was able to pass Leandro Lo’s guard and tap the dangerous opponent with an armlock. He talks about the open class semifinal. “I know Lo very well and I am familiar with his qualities, which are his stamina and rhythm. As I am also very fit, I don’t usually get tired during the match. As I’m heavier than him, I try to keep the pressure on by being on top attacking always. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m able to fight him in such a efficient way.”

One of Bernardo’s most dangerous weapons is the leg lock he uses when he is passing the opponent’s guard. He explained the secret of this stealth finish. “I do that position since 2009 and I learned it from Fabio Gurgel. I have been training it a lot at no-gi sessions, which makes it much more difficult. So when I have the gi to help me, it’s easier to do it. The secret is to adjust it well so the opponent has no way to defend it even if he knows it’s coming.”

Finally, Faria said if anything will change now that he is a black belt open class champion: “Nothing changes! I am healthy and motivated. My daily routine is very busy, but I am able to balance it between teaching classes, training and other business ventures.”

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