Leandro Lo analyzes Pan & another gold in Abu Dhabi: “I will fight the Worlds as a lightweight”

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Leandro observes the opponent while preparing the lunge from his feared open guard. Photo: Erin Herle/ GracieMag

Champion in the up to 76kg division of the WPJJC 2013 in Abu Dhabi held last weekend, Leandro Lo (Cicero Costha) didn’t have an easy time in the Emirates.

First, he needed to forget about the negatives, after leaving in the 2013 Pan in California without medals in his division nor in the absolute. After getting his head together, he made his game and won again in the land of sheikhs, in the final against old acquaintance Lucas Lepri. The gold came thanks to an advantage after he tried to pass the guard.

The guard player phenomenon, trained by Cicero Costha, commented on the feat in Abu Dhabi and what he has learned in the IBJJF Pan. Check this out:

GracieMag: How was the journey to the top in Abu Dhabi?

LEANDRO LO: I had a good performance; I think I fought the way I like it. Not taking points against me early in the fight has made a difference. Notice that all my opponents were able to try to sweep, but failed to execute the move. I balanced myself, I didn’t take points against me and it was good. Starting with two points behind in a six minute fight can be fatal.

How was being in the final with Lepri?

We know each other well, we have done several finals in the lightweight division. Lucas is a very tough and technical guy, you can’t make mistakes against him or start the fight behind in the score. It is very difficult to gain points against him, on top or on bottom. What has helped me a lot in the fight against him is that I have always managed to get my hands on the ground, it helps me with my base. He has a good guard and unbalances you a lot. I believe I won thanks to my base. I’ve been practicing my balance doing drills on the ball, in addition to base training with hands resting on the floor.

Did you apply any unexpected moves in Abu Dhabi? There was an interesting choke…

Right! I don’t remember who it was against, but I used a choke starting from the half guard. I love this submission, I am happy when I fit the position to perform it. After all, I don’t even need to pass the guard to win.

What has this achievement meant to you after a Pan 2013 performance below your potential?

I was happy with my second gold in Abu Dhabi, the conquest made me rethink a lot about myself. I did a self-assessment and now I will try to fix plenty of things for upcoming championships. Although I have lost in the Pan, the defeat gave me several lessons. I learned a lot about how to train better.

Training more?

Not exactly. For example, in the Pan, I was feeling pretty fast in middleweight, but I wasn’t as strong as when I was in the lightweight. I lost several positions during fights, and I didn’t like the way I fought. With all that, I learned that it is not how much you train that makes you win, but the right training. Now I won’t miss. For the Worlds, I will return to fight as a lightweight, but I can’t say I won’t go back to the middleweight later on. My friend and training partner Murilo Santana is going sharp for the middleweight. I don’t want to have to fight him if we are on the same side of the draw.

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