All eyes were on him at José Correa Gymnasium, Barueri last weekend. Calm demeanor, neat gi, black belt around the waist and his NS Brotherhood patch on the back. Leandro Lo was the biggest name of the 21st edition of the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
The former lightweight, who is currently a heavyweight, took a shot at the super-heavyweight division with two goals: to again test his fine BJJ, and to fight the No. 1-ranked IBJJF male, Erberth Santos.
Santos had impressive momentum, having won quadruple gold in most of his events this season. In this championship he would get to fight the man who took the Copa Pódio title from him. In the end, though, it turned out that Lo was on a historic streak, and, like everyone else in his way, Erberth was bound to fall.
Afterwards, Lo spoke exclusively to Graciemag about his two finals with Santos. “I started losing the first fight,” he said. “It’s very hard to do positions on him; he is very tough and explosive. In the second one, I took him down, but he swept me right after. I achieved the second takedown, but he’s in tremendous shape. I fought in these Nationals because the BJJ audience deserved to see this classic — not because it’s me, but because a fight between us two was so promising. Barueri became reminiscent of those times of Roger, Jacaré, Tererê, Margarida — everybody’s blood boiling.”
Just before leaving the gymnasium to celebrate, Lo opened up about his experience fighting in the second-highest weight class. “At the Worlds I’ll be back at heavyweight,” he said. “Fighting at super-heavyweight was too hard.”