A common piece of advice among competitors is to never underestimate your opponent. You never know who your opponent is and what talents they may have. Sometimes a lesser known name surprises us, like Marcelo “Lapela” Mafra of Checkmat BJJ.
The first time we saw Lapela at his best was in the 2013 Pan American Championship. Despite being submitted at the last minute of his final match against Clark Gracie, we saw a talent that most had never heard of.
Since then we’ve seen more of Lapela and his aggressive style and will get to see how he does at the 2013 BJJ Pro League on Dec. 8 at the Long Beach Walter Pyramid.
A black belt under Demian Maia, Lapela currently represents the banner of Checkmat BJJ under Leo Vieira. In 2008 he won the brown belt middleweight division at the World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Moving up to black belt he earned two medals at the 2010 American National Championship, earning the gold in 2011 at the same tournament.
By 2013 he had placed second in the middleweight division at the Pans, putting him on the map. A few months later he won the 2013 Las Vegas Spring Open at medium-heavyweight.
Most recently Lapela placed second in the lightweight category of the 2013 World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championship and next we will see him at the Pro League in a four-man bracket.
Check out this match of Marcelo Mafra:
Learn more about the 2013 BJJ Pro League on Dec. 8 at the Long Beach Walter Pyramid at www.bjjproleague.com