With the second world championship title of Jiu-Jitsu in June, Otavio Sousa (Gracie Barra), 26, not only won the gold medal and recognition of the fans as the best black belt of the world at middleweight.
The student of Jose Olimpio, Zé Radiola, also earned an invitation to participate in the ADCC in Beijing, China, on October 18 and 19 this year in the 77kg division.
A Gracie Barra professor living in Irvine, Otavio talked about the next challenge and detailed his training by email exchange with GRACIEMAG. Check it out.
GRACIEMAG: How does it feel to participate in your first ADCC, and in China?
OTÁVIO SOUSA: It was the best thing that could have happened, because I could not participate in the ADCC trial in Brazil, in April, because I was very busy here in California with the gi training for the Worlds and classes at Gracie Barra. This invitation came at the right time, the competition is very tough but today I am a more mature athlete with more confidence. I feel that my positions are more accurate and adjusted than a few years back. Let’s see now without the gi. I still remember when I was a kid and watched the ADCC, with all those black belts giving shows and performing unforgettable fights. This year I will fight the most classic of the tournaments without the gi there in China, and I’m pretty happy about that.
How do you evaluate the 77kg division, of the legendary Marcelo Garcia, who will still have Leozada Nogueira with his guillotine and perhaps Kron and others?
The competition will be ruthless, as usual. It is a slightly lighter weight than I usually compete, which goes to 82kg. So I still need to lose some weight, but nothing else. I’m excited and I’m not a true beginner; after all, I already attended other events without the gi. In 2009, I even closed the medium heavy at the No-Gi Worlds with my partner Romulo Barral here in California.
What do you change in your game during a no-gi tournament?
The game changes just a bit, but you need to make some adjustments. The difference in the end is that the fight slips a lot more and you can’t grip the same way. Techniques need to be better, so you don’t lose the move. And, of course, attention needs to be focused on the legs and feet, especially in ADCC, because all locks are allowed. As the fighter has nothing to hold, it becomes much more difficult to defend these twists.
How are you going to train for the ADCC? Did you change anything?
I’m focusing on my workouts to come back with the victory, God willing. I’m training no-gi Jiu-Jitsu with the beasts of Gracie Barra and wrestling with Jacob Harman, from Calvery Chapel. He teaches various MMA athletes like Renato Babalu, Rafael dos Anjos, Beneil Dariush among others. I am happy to be able to train with these beasts.
What is the main aspect to win a tournament like ADCC, Otavio?
One of the recipes to success is self-confidence. I worked a lot on it before the Worlds, I trusted in my game and I thought I was going to do well. I believe in my potential and I will do anything to be victorious in this too. Another recipe is to never underestimate any opponent and never expect an easy fight. In this regard, the Worlds and ADCC look the same. So I will continue applying this thinking to compete in Beijing, and continue with the same focus and training discipline I have always had.