The first half of the season was positive for Lucas Lepri. By winning the Brazilian Nationals in May when he closed the lightweight division with Juan Kamezawa, the star of the Alliance team captured the only IBJJF title he was missing in his vast experience as a black belt. Moreover, Lepri pleased the crowd in the absolute, defeating Paulo Miyao (Cicero Costha) by referee decision and earned the bronze. He only lost to the champion, Felipe Sloth (Gracie Barra).
Motivated, Lucas flew to Los Angeles, site of the camp of Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles in preparation for the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Long Beach, California. The IBJJF tournament extends from the 28 of May to the 1 of June.
In conversation with GRACIEMAG, Lucas talked about his plans for the Worlds, the opening of his own gym in Charlotte and recalled the Brazilian Nationals matches.Check it out:
GRACIEMAG: What have you learned from your performance during this return to Brazil?
LUCAS LEPRI: It was very nice to return to competition in Brazil. I was fortunate to be Brazilian champion, a great thrill because it was the title that was missing in my career as a black belt. I struggled forward as I often do. I felt good and with a lot of confidence. I had three fights at lightweight, and I had four fights in the absolute and got the bronze. I’m sure Juan will also do very well at the Worlds. In the Brazilian Nationals last year, Juan closed the lightweight division with Michael Langhi. This year he gave the title to me. It is what we reinforce: teamwork makes all the difference.
In all, you fought well in the fight against Felipe Preguica, but suffered the referee decision. What went wrong?
My mistake was defending the sweep since he was able to take my back as I tried to stand. I thought Felipe was winning by advantages and then I was fighting not to give up the two points, but in fact I was winning by advantages … It was a mistake that cost the fight.
And now is the Worlds. Confidence increases with the Brazilian Nationals title?
I’m keeping the pace to get right in the IBJJF World Championship, with the same mind and confidence. Langhi and I worked together to make it happen, but until the final there is a long way to go.
And this year you will open your own gym, right?
Yes, I am very happy to further this dream, and thank God I’m taking this step in my professional career. My gym will be in Charlotte, North Carolina. The plan is to open in September. My goal will be to show my students that respect for others is essential to any relationship as well as friendship, companionship, education and humility.
Register for your won spot in the 2014 World Championship at the Long Beach Walter Pyramid by registering by tonight, 11:59 p.m. PST: www.ibjjf.org
See the match between Lucas Lepri and Felipe Preguica here: