The couple Leandro Lo and Luiza Monteiro won the absolute division at Copa Kamikaze 8 for the second time, this Sunday the 11th in Ribeirão Preto, where 700 athletes from across Brazil took to the mats in competition.
In the men’s final, a curious fact: world champion Leandro Lo would have had Rafael Naves (Núcleo), a confessed fan of Master Cícero Costha, ahead of him. Recently promoted to brown belt, “Parmesão”, as Rafael is known, chose not to face his idol. “He’s a role model, an example of an athlete, to me. I surely wouldn’t have a chance against Lo, but I was really happy and honored to make it to the final and close out with him.”
Leandro Lo, who won his weight class, as well as four matches in the absolute, won Copa Kamikaze for the second time in his two appearances at the event. “There’s a great level of competition and good prize money, and that adds value for the athletes. I’m so happy to have fans and friends wherever I go, and as for Rafael, he’s got talent too,” he said.
Female division – in the women’s final, Luiza Monteiro (CheckMat) faced Bruna Ribeiro (Atos) and, just as she did at the previous chapter of Copa Kamikaze, it was an armbar that earned her the gold.
“I already imagined I would face Bruna, so I studied her. Knowing your opponent helps a lot,” she explained. Bruna is still recovering from the loss of her mother, who passed away in October. “I made it to black belt just before my mother died. I sewed her name [Noemi] on my belt and came, because I know how much she would have liked to be here,” said the athlete from the town of Rio Preto.
The couple – By each other’s side throughout the entire competition, Leandro and Luiza were only apart when competing. Together for six months so far, the pair have been amassing titles, like the Abu Dhabi Pro 2012 Trials and the absolute at the São Paulo-based Internacional de Jiu-Jitsu, which earned them plane tickets to the 2012 Pan. The cheerful and friendly couple revealed to journalist João Augusto some of the details behind their union.
On who gives who advice, Luiza was categorical: “I get more pointers from him than he does from me. Just having Leandro Lo by my side makes me calm when I compete. I won a lot of matches thanks to him,” she states.
Leandro, on his part, stresses that having Luiza as his companion at competitions gives him strength. “She becomes my coach,” he jokes. Any argument between the two is limited to being about Jiu-Jitsu: “There’s no way around it, she gets me every time,” said the champion in finishing.