Last weekend in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro State, tryouts for the WPJJC were held to see who’ll be flying to Abu Dhabi with all their costs covered. Besides Rodolfo Vieira (under-92 kg) and Gabi Garcia (over-63 kg), who had it relatively easy, the big standout of the tournament was Antonio Braga Neto, a native of the North Brazilian city of Manaus and a product of Gordo Jiu-Jitsu team.
After taking fourth place amid the most stalwart of competition at the Copa Pódio Heavyweight GP, Braga Neto made the most of his momentum to win the over-92 kg division, where he encountered and overcame stiff opposition without much ado.
To the black belt the ease he encountered last weekend came down to his opponents not being able to decipher his game, annulling the enemy tactics.
“Even I don’t know what I’m going to do in the match. What I want is to get the tapout,” Neto tells GRACIEMAG.com in the following interview. Check out what he has to say.
GRACIEMAG: You beat guys like Ricardo Evangelista and Igor Silva. What made the difference for you in Niterói?
BRAGA NETO: To me what made the difference was desire. I really wanted and needed to win it. Now I’m a lot more confident in my game, which is an undefined game. Not even I know what exactly I’m going to do in a match. What I want is the finish, it doesn’t matter how. I think that’s part of it—I try imposing my game and the opponent gets kind of lost. What I was happiest about was my guard game. There were very few moments where I felt uncomfortable, even with the guys coming on strong on top.
How do you feel the final with Igor went?
It was a really tough match. When I swept him, we landed in 50/50 and kind of stalled. But we were scrambling up until the very end. It was a really good match. The lesson I learned is that always believing, persevering and having heart is essential to a fighter.
How did training for the tryouts go?
Truth is, I started training long before getting back to Jiu-Jitsu training, because I had to rehab my knee, and that was no easy task. I did seven months of physiotherapy, where I had everything I needed to make a complete recovery after an operation on my ACL. Now I’m back and my leg’s fine.