Interview: Rudson Mateus opens up about the 2019 Brazilian Nationals

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Rudson was among the biggest winners in the latest edition of the Nationals. Flashsport

The men’s medium heavyweight champion and absolute runner-up at the 2019 Brazilian Nationals, Rudson Mateus starred, next to Nicholas Meregali, in one of the most memorable moments of the event.

In the final match of the Nationals, which took place in Barueri and ended last Sunday, May 5th, Rudson received a fourth penalty (one for crossing, and three for lack of combativeness) and wound up disqualified.

Graciemag reached out to Rudson, who discussed with us the final moments of that fight, and more. Read on for the interview.

GRACIEMAG: How do you evaluate your performance at the Nationals overall?

RUDSON MATEUS: My performance was excellent. I managed to impose my game, working both on top and on the bottom, which is something I’ve been practicing a lot. With each passing championship, I’ve been feeling more confident, using positions from my training.

What was your most complicated match?

I had many tough fights, but the most complicated one was with Duzão Lopes, in the absolute semifinal. He’s a very heavy opponent, and that made me get very tired. I believe that if it were all on the same day, it would be better, because my body would be warm. On Sunday I woke up all busted up.

What was the winning detail in the medium heavyweight final?

I knew it was going to be really hard beating José Henrique, but I think he was more tired than me at that moment. He could have started with a dangerous blitz, but I managed to bring it to my game and sweep. He fell well and managed to respond in a move that excited the crowd. He raised me really high. I thought I would have to finish quick to avoid getting more worn out. I went back to pressing and finished on the arm.

How were your mind and body before the final against Meregali?

My mind was good for that final, but my body wasn’t at 100%. It may even sound like an excuse, but I know my body, and an athlete knows when they cross their limit. I lost weight to get there weighing 88kg, and I was weakened. I had a cramp in my posterior thigh muscle. I kept quiet, told nobody, but on Sunday morning my leg was really bothering me. I thought it would improve, and I was even able to impose my rhythm in the fights up to the absolute final. It was almost enough; I know I could have given more of myself at that moment. I tried, but it didn’t work out. People who compete know what I mean. Nicholas is very tough indeed, but I know next time I will do a better fight with him.

Did that first penalty shake you in any way?

I took that penalty for crossing, and in a first moment I thought I wasn’t crossing. Only later did I see that I actually was, but I thought that foul wouldn’t harm my fight. Turns out that it did, in fact. I believe that if we were tied on fouls, that moment we were facing each other, I think the fight would be different. He would have gone for it too, and the match would have gotten even more complicated. I was standing but was on autopilot. I felt types of pain after the event that I never felt in my life, as a competitor. But that’s how big championships go, and I still believe I have big things to conquer.

What was going through your head in the final moments, with the back-to-back penalties?

Both fighters were very tired, but I had a block. I couldn’t even walk forward. He also stopped; I felt he was tired too, but I wish I had charged him. It was my body that didn’t comply. I have to work more on that; I do very intense preparation, but there’s still something amiss. I’ll be working double now. In spite of this, I had a good performance, in my opinion.

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