Winning the 2012 Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship after catching Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” in an unexpected armbar was a unique moment in the career of Rafael Mendes. He says so himself: “I feel it was my best championship performance to date. I let my game flow and went after different finishes,” he said just after the bout.
Unable to compete at the upcoming World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Cup in Abu Dhabi for the first time, due to passport issues, the black belt took a close look at his performance in the USA, where he has started the process of applying for his green card.
“Some days have now passed since the Pan in Irvine, which was an excellent occasion for my brother [Guilherme Mendes, light featherweight runner-up] and me. Even though the results weren’t 100%, we’re pleased with ourselves, not just for the medals. What we liked most was the way we peformed against each of our opponents,” posted Rafa on his Facebook page.
“We’ve been competing since we were 11 and 12 years old, and our passion for Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t boil down to just winning gold medals or making it to the top of the podium; it goes much deeper than that. It’s about proving to the world that having determination and faith in God is worth it,” he said, happy with the way the brothers’ game is influencing a new generation.
What do you think, gentle reader, who was the big standout at the 2012 Pan? Share your thoughts with us in the comments field below.