The city of Irvine, California, received the 18th edition of the Pan IBJJF in late March. The gym of the Bren Event Center was the venue for the display of black belts and their refined Jiu-Jitsu.
In the women’s division, the lightweight Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita) was one of the highlights of the competition. Leticia Ribeiro’s student got the silver medal in weight, making the final with her friend Ana Carol Vidal Lebre, and the second place in the absolute, after the battle against the champion Gabi Garcia.
Interviewed by GracieMag, Bia countered the allegations by Gabi Garcia, commented on the absolute final and talked about closing the category. Check it out.
GracieMag: What was your reaction to your performance after the Pan 2013?
BEATRIZ MESQUITA: I enjoyed my performance. I closed the weight category with my teammate Carol Vidal. And I am always proud to reach an absolute final, as a lightweight. I made good fights, played just right, I made fewer mistakes and defeated my opponents until the final.
How was the absolute final with Gabi Garcia?
It’s always a tough match. She is at least twice my size. Gabi is winning all absolutes, but I always go for it with confidence in my game and well determined. I think it is working because although I didn’t win, I’m one of those who have been improving against her, I was fighting well during the ten minutes without being submitted. She passed my guard and then I was able to recover. It is a result of a lot of training of hip escapes, the best way to reset the guard. They are supernatural abilities (laughs).
Gabi told GracieMag you taunted her during the fight. What happened?
Look, I didn’t do anything to provoke her or to take her concentration away. I fought to have a good performance, and trying not to get hurt, even with a punch and an elbow that she gave me, perhaps thinking it would make a difference. My warrior spirit would not let me be affected, even with my mouth bleeding and surviving under such weight. But the absolute is like that, I’m always prepared for the worst. I really didn’t understand, and I wonder: what have I done? I really don’t know. I think her problem was not being able to submit … At the end of the fight, the referee led us to greet and I was cordial and polite as she turned her back on me and was talking nonsense. In my opinion, immature attitudes are completely unworthy.
In Abu Dhabi, you can fight again in the absolute. What do you plan to do differently?
The training continues, and studying the opponents and correcting the mistakes are part of it. But you’ll see the different aspects in our next fight (laughs). I learned in Pan that the important thing is not always winning. There are times when only the affection and respect of people you know or come to congratulate you outweigh everything. It really is priceless.
And about the fight with Carol, how was that final?
We are a team. I did not make the decisions alone. In 2011, Carol and I closed the Pan and she gave me the victory. It was also when I got my black belt. Now it was her turn. In the Worlds, we decided that we will go in different categories, Carol in featherweight and me in the lightweight, defending the title I won last year.
You did not guarantee a place in the trials but decided to travel to Abu Dhabi. Are you ready?
I’ll go more aggressive and submit more, these are my plans. I get on the mat wanting to submit, which is the main goal, but of course the black belt is a very high level and we can’t always do that. Unfortunately, I didn’t win in the Manaus trial, but as it is a major professional championship, I decided to go on my own account.