Tussa and Bastos comment on Arizona Open finals

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Roberto “Tussa” Alencar of Gracie Barra New Mexico defeated Bruno Bastos of Bruno Bastos BJJ/Nova Uniao in the much anticipated black belt open at the 6th Arizona International Open, garnering Alencar a check for $2,500 and the pride of notching another win under his distinguished black belt.

Bruno Bastos (left) and "Tussa" / Photo: Deb Blyth

Last year was a rough one for Alencar, who sustained injuries and couldn’t perform the way he wanted to. “I put on weight because I couldn’t train very much and I got fat,” he laughs, “I had to go up in weight and it didn’t help me.”

Now Alencar is healthy again and back to his usual heavy weight status., ready to fight for another Pan gold medal. First, however, he has some job in New Mexico.

“Master Draculino is coming to visit my schools to do a seminar,” he says, “I also have a brown belt getting promoted to black and Barata is getting his 1st stripe on his black belt. We’re celebrating two years at our GB Westside school. There’s a lot of things going on.”

As for his experience at the 6th Arizona International Open, Alencar says it was an awesome experience. “Barata came last year for the same tournament,” he says, “He came back talking about how organized and professional it was, so I came this year. I’m really impressed with Gustavo’s tournament. It’s at the same level as the IBJJF. The referees were great and the tournament was on time. He put so much hard work into this event. He’s done an awesome job. I’m really happy to have come to it and I want to bring my students back next year.”

Photo: John Cooper

Before coming to the tournament, Alencar worried if it was still his time, after his less than stellar year last year, but after taking gold in the open, he proved to himself that it was. “This tournament showed me I’ve still got it. I can still do it. I’m back! I felt myself progressing with every match. I was getting more confident with each one. So, after two figths, I was ready for Bruno, but I knew the match was going to go the whole distance.”

And it did. Alencar was losing by advantage points when he pulled guard. “Luckily I got the sweep and a mount and then the match was over,” he says, “I have a lot of respect for Bruno. I have watched him fight so many times at so many tournaments. I remember watching him when I was a purple belt and he was a black belt. He loves Jiu-Jitsu.”

Alencar says it was a great feeling to win the open class and to receive $2,500 for his efforts. “I’m going to save it as I always do,” he says, “I’ll put it in the bank and then maybe I’ll use it to buy a ticket to Brazil.”

Now Alencar’s looking forward to the Pan. “I’m going to try to get my title back,” he says, referring to winning it in 2009, only to lose it in 2010, “I want to push myself for the Pan and the Worlds. I also plan on going to Brazil for the ADCC world submission trials. If I pass, I will go to London in September.”

As for his overall plans for 2011, he says, “I’m going to try to bring a big show this year and have really exciting fights. I want to make it worth people’s while to watch me compete. I’m proud to wear the GB uniform. They’ve given me everything, the least I can do is represent them well.”

Bruno Bastos had four matches at the Arizona International Open and was really looking forward to going all the way to the finals. He was well on his way as he handily worked through his competition. In his first match, he submitted his opponent with an armbar in about one minute.

In his second match, he fought Rafael “Barata” Freitas from GB New Mexico and won on points. “I tried to finish with an Ezekiel,” he says, “But he held on for the bell.”

In his third match, he faced Guybson Sa from SAS/East West Combat Club. The match brought with it a bit of controversy as at one point, Bastos was out of bounds and Sa charged him and put his knee in Bastos’ face. Bastos was angry and Sa said it was unintentional. Bastos took a moment to compose himself and then the match began again. “I swept him, but didn’t get the points,” he says, “I got an advantage. As a fighter, you just have to keep going, so I did. I was on top, and moved to side control, but then the match was over. I thought I got an advantage for it, but I didn’t, so at the end, the match was even. I won by referee’s decision. Guybson’s very tough and very young. He has a lot of potential.”

Photo: John Cooper

Bastos’s final was with Alencar. “It was a very tough match,” he says, “Tussa and I have fought three times in no gi. This was the first time we’ve fought gi. We pretty much play the same game gi or no gi. We both have very good fundamentals. For the first six minutes, it was pretty much a judo match. Then I was winning three advantage points to zero. I almost took him down three times. Then he jumped guard and tried some sweeps and attacks. I defended, then I posted up and he switched the triangle to a sweep, and that’s how he scored the points, then he moved to mount. I was tired. If you make one mistake against a high level guy, it’s over. And that’s what happened today.” Bastos says he’s frustrated that he didn’t win. “I’ve been here twice to Gustavo’s tournaments and I’ve won both times. Today I didn’t.”

Unlike Alencar, Bastos had a good year last year. “The only time I didn’t medal last year was at the Pan,” he says, “Most tournaments I won. I took third at the Gi Worlds. It was a good year for me.”

As for the Arizona International Open, Bastos says that Gustavo is bringing more black belts to the tournament every year. “I had four matches this year,” he says, “I’ve never had that before. This is a good tournament. Every tournament Gustavo throws he brings in more competitors, more black belts, and the level becomes higher and higher. It continues to grow. He’s doing a great job here. I know he’s not satisfied yet because he loves perfection, but he is doing all the right things to make his goals.”

Next up, Bastos is looking forward to the Abu Dhabi trials in San Diego, then the Pan and then the Worlds. “I’m coming prepared,” he says, “If you’re not in shape, you can’t compete. There are so many tournaments coming up. I’m going to do my best in everything I do. My ultimate goal is to become World Pro Abu Dhabi champion and IBJJF and ADCC champion. I feel like if I had those three things, my mission in Jiu-Jitsu will be complete as a fighter. As a coach, my goal is to make one American student world champion in any belt,” he says, “I also want to help Gustavo make Nova Uniao first place again as a team.”

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