Rodolfo Vieira’s season had been going great, with titles in Abu Dhabi and California, but a knee injury stopped him going to the China ADCC. The GFTeam black-belt didn’t waver, though: he jumped right into physical therapy and is already laying out his new plans.
“I’m training slowly, but I still have to strengthen my knee. Previously I was doing a lot of ultrasounds, laser and acupuncture. Now I’m going back to physical therapy to get strong again. I’m doing light training, just to keep moving, doing that open guard,” he told GRACIEMAG.
With three heavyweight world championships under his belt, Rodolfo has decided to change weight classes for next year and broke down his reasoning:
“Man, I’ve been fighting at 90kg since I was 16 and now I’m getting older and stronger, so it’s rough keeping that weight. I’ve been struggling to stay withing the bounds of my class since 2011, depending on fighing in the absolute, winning the matches, and reaching the right weight and fighting the division. It was getting rough for me. And for next year’s Worlds I’m going as a super-heavyweight, it’s almost set.
“I’m sure I will be performing even better at the open. Every open I fought in 2011, 2012 and 2013 I wasn’t feeding myself right, I had to eat only a little, because I didn’t know if I could win the fights, so I didn’t know if I would lose the weight. It was another hurdle, so I said, ‘You know what? I’m fighting the open first eating right, and then see what happens,'” said the 24-year-old.
Asked about possible opponents he may face in his new division, such as world champion Bernardo Faria, Rodolfo explained:
“I’m not moving up to take anyone’s title. If I could I would stay at my old weight, but it’s getting too hard. Despite me being very short, my structure is very heavy. Bernardo and I have fought many times, but he is the man at super-heavy. Bernardo and Léo Leite are always on the podium. There are other strong names as well, but those are the men to beat.”