The Mendes brothers, Guilherme and Rafael, took part in the third edition of Metamoris on March 29. The Los Angeles event invites athletes to compete in submission-only matches with no time limits. The crowd, livestream, commentators and the stage make it a show rather than a competition.
Guilherme had a match with Samir Chantre. He was able to finish the match with a baseball bat choke. Rafael had a match with Clark Gracie and the match was considered a draw since no submission was made by either athletes.
We interviewed the brothers together and individually to see how they felt about the event and their matches:
GRACIEMAG: Did you have a specific strategy for your opponents? If so, were you able to use it?
GUI & RAFA: The strategy was to get a good position and work for the submission. Twenty minutes is a long time and we were very prepared, we were confident that we would not get tired during the fights so we were focused on attacking.
What are the benefits of competing in an event like Metamoris compared to a regular tournament?
Athletes who have competed in Metamoris before say that having all the attention on you in one match rather than coaching students and having 5 or 6 matches is a refreshing experience. Would you agree or disagree?
We believe that all the tournaments are important in different ways and they will benefit your career. IBJJF has a long tradition of having the best fighters in the world, so winning these tournaments gives you credibility so people will recognize your name. On the other side Metamoris is more exciting for the public, less matches, good promotion, everything looks professional and special, it’s a show and not only a tournament.
Coaching students is something that we love and does not disturb us at all, it’s all part of a successful athlete’s life: you win big tournaments and become a successful name in the sport, you are invited to be part of the best events and have your students competing in tournaments representing your academy while you coach and watch them become the next generation of champions in the sport. It is the circle of our lives and our dreams becoming reality so we could not be happier.
Would you do another Metamoris or event like this in the future?
Yes, today our main goal is to invest our energy on making our academy grow and our students achieve their goals but we still have our goals as competitors and we will be competing for a long time so when we feel like competing we will join the tournament and show our techniques. We spend twelve hours of our day inside of the academy so we are always ready, preparation has never been a problem.
Was it your intention to pull guard or were you possibly waiting for Samir to pull guard first?
GUI: My intention was to play top and work my submissions from side control but I saw that he was not going to pull guard so I did and worked the sweep. I was very determined to push the pace of the fight and make him get tired so it would be easier for me to get the submission.
The leg attack that Samir went for seemed to work in your favor, allowing you to get to your leg drag position. At that point in the match did you feel confident you would submit before time ran out?
Yeah, he saw the chance for a submission when I went for the sweep and I used his attack to achieve a good position on top. His intention was good, he went for the submission, which is the goal of the fight but he ended up in a bad spot which gave me the opportunity to submit him. That’s the magic of Jiu-Jitsu– it’s a game of human chess, you make a mistake and you lose.
Were you surprised that Clark defended the berimbolo in the beginning of the match. Since there was no point system did you have a different approach to the double-guard position?
I accepted the challenge to fight against someone 30 pounds heavier than me in a submission-only match and I think it was a great experience for my career, showing what Jiu Jitsu is all about, the small guy fighting against a bigger opponent and using techniques to neutralize him. Since he was much heavier than me I was determined to work for the back position so I could get the submission. I knew he would try to defend my attacks and I think he did a great job. I was just waiting for his attacks so he would open space for me and I would have more chances to finish my positions and get the submission but he had a very strong defensive game. Anyways, it was a great experience where I could show my techniques for the public and challenge myself one more time.
With many people asking for more action in that type of game, what do you say in response?
I always give everything in my fights and I think that it’s the most important, its what makes us have the peace of mind in any circumstance. Attacking and winning were always my goals since day one and I’ll keep working on my game to make it so good that my opponents will not be able to defend. That’s the real goal for a competitor, sharpen your techniques to fight against anyone and be able to apply it with success.
Photos by James Law