Absolute winner Samir Chantre comments on Vegas Open final with Zak Maxwell

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Samir Chantre por John Cooper

Slight-framed Samir Chantre in photo by John Cooper

This August 11 the Las Vegas Sport Center was treated to the IBJJF’s Las Vegas International Open, a competition featuring over 600 athletes. The big standout of the event was the featherweight Samir Chantre, who won his weight class and the absolute for the second year in a row.

“Once again the championship was really organized and featured high-level athletes—there was no surprise there,” remarked Samir. “I was really pleased with my performance because of how high a level my opponents were. The path to victory was to get to use my positions and take the action where I wanted it to be,” he summarized.

All the way to the final against Zak Maxwell, Samir had his work cut out for him, as he recalled:

“I had three matches, all really tough and against heavier opponents. In my first match I played on top and managed two guard passes. In the second, against a much heavier opponent, I managed to sink an omoplata that earned me the win by decision.

“And the final was really good. Right in the beginning I sunk a triangle and attacked an arm but couldn’t get the finish. After that I launched a bunch of foot attacks and one sweep to each side. With 30 seconds left in the match, I was three advantages ahead and my opponent ended up getting disqualified for crossing his foot inwards,” explained Samir, who was overjoyed that he was able to keep the title at his academy, since his teammate Caio Terra won it in 2010 and the two closed out in 2011.

“That was special motivation, not letting the title get away from us. But what really motivated us in the absolute was proving that technique can overcome weight and strength advantages. That’s why I came up with the result even though I was the lightest one signed up in the absolute,” he said.

Samir described how he trained to beat the big guys, and looked ahead at his plans for the rest of the season.

“I train with guys of all weights. I do a lot of positional repetitions and specific training, because the positions you execute perfectly will work against any opponent no matter what they weigh or how strong they are,” taught the absolute champ. “Now I’m going to keep up my training and focus on getting a third title at the American Nationals. Training’s going great here in San Jose; we’ll be entering with a really strong team.”

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