Held at Club Hebraica on May 5, the Copa Podio Lightweight GP hosted the great show of the young Diego Borges (Checkmat), who didn’t get the title, but his performance was recognized by the crowd, by analysts and other black belts.
Champion Leandro Lo, for example: “I quickly noticed in our first fight that I could not play carelessly. It wouldn’t work. You can only go focused against him, he is really very strong,” praised Leandro, who had his first fight with Diego and, hours later, the final. In both fights, he won by only one advantage.
Check out what Diego, who trains with Carlos Esquisito in Manaus, learned from the silver, and what he expects of the World Championship on May 29.
GRACIEMAG: You lost the title but being complimented by Xande Ribeiro and others wasn’t bad at all …
DIEGO BORGES: Yeah, I think it was worth it. I think my performance was satisfactory. I managed to have good results against athletes of the highest level. I had five fights in the GP lasting six minutes and missed a bit. My strategy was to combine the technique to an aggressive and busy game, seeking to score first and keep the pace until the end. I like to show a strategy of Jiu-Jitsu which is always played forward and I like to keep the pace from beginning to end in my fights. This is my style.
How was the final with Leandro in your analysis?
Lo is an amazing guy and very strategic, an excellent athlete and, above all, he is humble. The fight was tough, we had a busy final and we pleased the crowd by showing quality Jiu-Jitsu. I tried and almost managed to take his back, but I believe I failed for not having followed him as he rolled. I was concerned about defending myself from his sweep. If we fight again, I won’t change my game. I will correct the mistakes and seek the victory.
In the semifinal you faced another guy who was sweeping everyone in the competition, Vinicius Marinho. What was crucial in that decisive victory, after the takedown and mount?
I think I just waited for the right moment in his attempts of takedowns to apply the counterattack, that’s how I managed the takedown and score first. I landed in a good position and only the mount followed. He is a tough guy. I knew it would be a great fight.
And now you get to the Worlds very focused. No diet? Are you going to fight as a middleweight?
I’m going as a middleweight. It was hard to lose weight to fight at lightweight. I hope to have good results in the Worlds and exceed expectations. I will complete my training at Lucas Leite’s camp at Checkmat headquarters in California. I’m trying to recycle my training a bit and my techniques with the guys. All my teammates will be there, so they can expect the same style. The goal is to have the same performance in Long Beach.
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