Mendes brothers talk triumph at Pan 2013: ‘It is still possible to be a professor and a champion’

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Rafael Mendes tries to apply a position in the final with Cobrinha. Photo: Ivan Trindade/GracieMag

In the 2013 Pan, which ended last Sunday in Irvine, Calif., another chapter was written in the Jiu-Jitsu saga for brothers Rafael and Guilherme Mendes.

The brothers, who used to close out the featherweight since they were young, now fight in different weight divisions. At featherweight, in a tough match decided by the referees, Rafael defeated Rubens Cobrinha. During the fight, it was 2-2.

Rafa talked about the conquest with GracieMag reporter Ivan Trindade:

“When time was up, the only certainty I had was that I had given my best in the fight,” ” said the younger Mendes. “I tried to attack all the time to leave no doubt to the referees. Cobrinha also fought very well, and thank God we did another excellent final. And that’s it, a final with an opponent with the level of Cobrinha will always be decided in detail. This time he made no mistakes.”

Asked about the sweep he suffered, and which drew the fight, Rafa said, “Actually, I anticipated and threw myself down to defend his attack. I study my opponents a lot, I see the struggles and I knew Cobrinha makes a very good sweep when he holds the sleeve between the legs of the opponent. When I saw that he was almost able to do it, I threw myself down to try to counter-attack and go to his back.”

Rafael also spoke about the taste of winning in front of friends and students in California.

“I was very happy with the victory and the chance to prove to everyone that, with discipline and focus, you can still be a professor, engage with the students in the gym, train hard and be a champion,” he said. “The year 2013 has been perfect. Our kids team was champion in IBJJF Pan Kids, and after, Gui and I won the Houston Open and the San Francisco Open, and now the Pan! The training is in full swing for the Worlds and ADCC in Beijing.”

Guilherme Mendes swept Laércio Fernandes, in Pan 2013. Photo: Ivan Trindade/GracieMag

Guilherme Mendes competed in light feather, where he won the final with Laércio Fernandes with a score of 4-2. Gui spoke about the difficulty of lowering his weight.

“The diet is no longer a big deal,” said the black belt under Ramon Lemos. “In each victory, I have even more reasons to fight. The feeling is of accomplishment, and I feel all our hard training is worthwhile. The gold rewards any suffering.

“All the positions I had been honing were perfect. I will continue the training and plan to be at my best in the Worlds. I want to win my fourth black belt title, and I know it won’t be easy!

“As a team, we almost reached the top in adults. We lost (behind Alliance) by just two points. We will arrive with the strongest team for the World Championship, because our goal is first place.”

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