Having recouped an injured knee, Gordo JJ black belt Antonio Braga Neto is now training balls to the wall at his master’s Rio de Janeiro academy, in hopes of ousting the favorites at the upcoming Copa Pódio event.
To Braga Neto, there are other fighters in the Jan. 13 Heavyweight GP who are at a better competition; still he feels he has an interesting difference going for him.
“The good part is that I don’t have a set game plan. What I like is getting the finish, whether on bottom or top. I like to feel them tapping out,” Braga told GRACIEMAG.com.
GRACIEMAG: Your group includes Lucio Lagarto, Bruno Bastos, Alexandre Souza and the brown belt João Gabriel. Does anyone concern you more than the others?
BRAGA NETO: Man, I feel they all have what it takes to win. My group is really deep. From my point of view Lucio Lagarto and Alexandre Souza are favorites to go through to the next phase.
The strongest names from the other group to me are Xande Ribeiro and Rodolfo Vieira.
How’s your knee?
Right, well I’m coming off knee surgery. I went through recovery in Porto Velho, Rondônio [Brazil]. There I did physiotherapy and strength work at Companhia do Movimento. I started training again about a month ago. I’m already in Rio training with my coach Roberto Gordo. I’m training well. I’m preparing myself for everything, to pass or play guard. I went through a rough period of injuries, so heading straight into the Heayvweight GP, an event that values Jiu-Jitsu aces, is great. So everyone can expect to see a Braga Neto giving his best.
Your opponents have different styles. What are you doing in training to neutralize their games?
To me fighting anyone is simple, since I don’t have a set game plan—I go for the finish; it doesn’t matter how I get it. I like to feel them tap out!
What changes with a six-minute match duration?
I feel that strategy and explosiveness are the main tools, the aspects that help a lot under these rules. You also need to make sure not to lose positions—that’s a big differentiating factor.