Winner of his weight and the open weight groups as a brown belt at this year’s Worlds, Marcus “Bochecha” Almeida has begun taking his first steps as a black belt, and successfully. The competitor was one of the standouts at last weekend’s No-Gi Pan in New York. After winning at superheavyweight, Bochecha shut out the absolute with friend Pablo Popovitch. Now, the Rodrigo Cavaca student hopes to put in a good performance at the No-Gi Worlds and the 2011 World Championship, where he may butt heads with Roger Gracie.
Tell us about your campaign at the Pan…
First I won at superheavyweight. The first match I won by WO and went straight through to the final against Bruno Bastos. That was an extremely tough final, which I won by two advantage points. In the absolute I won my first match by triangle submission and in the semifinal, again against Bruno Bastos, I defended a single-leg and managed to sink a triangle for the finish.
Why didn’t you and Pablo face off in the absolute final?
Ever since I arrived here in the United States, we’ve been training together. We trained hard for this Pan, and that’s why we opted not to do the final.
What are your hopes for next year? Do you think you’ll manage good results at the Worlds as a black belt, is that your aim?
I always expect the best. I hope to maintain my rhythm in competition and keep getting good results, since that’s what I’m training to do. Training here is really tough, and soon the gang from Brazil will be here to help out. Next year I’ll be in all the main competitions on the IBJJF calendar. For sure I’m going to fight for the title in my weight division and the absolute.
What would it be like to face Roger Gracie or the other top guys?
I feel it would a great challenge to face the world number-1. But beyond him, as you yourself say, there are a lot of other top guys. What’s for certain, though, is that in all my matches I go in with the same objective: to be champion.
This Pan was like my debut black belt”, Bochecha
Will you compete at the No-Gi Worlds or any other competitions in 2010?
Yes, for sure I’ll compete. Indeed, this Pan was like my debut at black belt. I competed at some smaller competitions in Florida, but this was my first big event. Thank God I debuted on the right foot! Now my focus is on the Miami Open and No-Gi Worlds. We’re already hard at training for those competitions.
What’s life in the USA like? Have you already gotten used to the pace there?
Life here is great; I’m really enjoying it. The weather here (Florida) is really similar to in Santos, and I live in a city with a beach, which is even better (laughs)! I’m teaching here and I was really well received at my new home, The Armory CheckMat. The owner of the team Joe Mullings and the other fighters, like Eduardo Guedes and Edson Junior, treat me well. I’m living with my friends Raphael Chaves and Thiago Baiano and my master Rodrigo Cavaca. Or in other words, there’s no way for the level of training to drop!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Well, I’d like to thank Cavaca and Joe for the opportunity to be here, making my dream come true; and my father Mr. Clayton and my mother Mrs. Bete (laughs)! If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today. And to thank Bulldog kimonos and, of course, GRACIEMAG.com for the opportunity.
Do as Bochecha does and participate in IBJJF events.
To find out more about the Miami Open, click here.
To find out more about the No-Gi Worlds here.