After injuring his knee in early 2010, Rodolfo Vieira stayed out of the main events but came roaring back onto the scene during the second half of the year and had a solid run at the Rio International Open, winning at weight and absolute. At the start of this season the prodigy from GFTeam repeated the feat, but at this past Saturday’s qualifiers for the World Pro in Rio de Janeiro. It’s also worth mentioning that Rodolfo has been doing well in the open weight division ever since he was a blue belt. He won the Brazilian Nationals at blue and purple and the Worlds at brown.
Qualified for the Abu Dhabi, the black belt now hopes to carry on winning in both his divisions; and bring on the Pan!
How was your performance at the event?
At weight things weren’t easy at all. I beat João Gabriel by 6 to 2 in the first match; in the second, against Alexandre de Souza, I got the takedown twice and passed guard; in the semifinal, against Português, I had two advantage points; and in the final, against Moreno (Diogo Sampaio, watch the match below) I scored 20 to 0 and finished with a choke from the mount. I only got the finish in the final of the division. There were four more matches in the absolute.
You are from Campo Grande, where the event took place. What was it like literally being able to compete at home?
This time I fought in my own backyard and was super nervous. My first Jiu-Jitsu championship was here, in 2005, and it was my first contact with competitions. Since then this is the first big event to take place here. Thank God everything went well and I am now champion. The crowd was on fire and I didn’t let anybody down!
What’s the next big event now?
I’m going to try and win weight and absolute at the Pan, then I’ll head straight to the World Pro.
Will this hunt for weight and absolute continue in Abu Dhabi? In 2009 you opted only to compete at weight?
I’ll keep up the pace in training. If I don’t get injured, I’ll show up there in good shape. In 2009, I don’t even know how I managed to win. I had a hurt rib, I was just there for the ride and ended up winning, but I was unable to compete in the absolute. Last year I got hurt again and couldn’t compete in anything. This year is promising and, with God’s help, I’ll train a lot só I can become champion at weight and open weight too.