Lightweight king Lucas Lepri analyzes campaign at the 2019 BJJ Worlds

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Lepri has his hand raised after beating Lucas Valente in the lightweight final. Blanca Marisa Garcia

No one disagrees that Lucas Lepri is the greatest lightweight in BJJ today. With six world titles in the division (2007, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), the Alliance black-belt carries on as the worst nightmare of the new crop. At 33, Lepri continues to dominate a division packed with talent, including Renato Canuto, Levi Jones-Leary, Yan Pica-Pau, Lucas Rocha, Ygor Rodrigues and Lucas Valente.

This year, in order to win another gold medal in another perfect run — allowing no points by anyone — Lepri beat Athos Miranda, John Combs and Rodrigo Freitas, earning a spot in the final opposite Lucas Valente of Gracie Barra. With a solid top game, Lepri convinced the judges and claimed the title.

Later, in a chat with Graciemag, Lepri spoke of his motivation to keep on winning in Long Beach, and of his final battle for the title.

GRACIEMAG: Another title. Evolving like good wine?

Lucas Lepri: I’m like wine indeed, and it’s really cool. I managed to win my sixth world title at black belt, and felt super well. It was another World Championship I got through without getting scored on. I was very pleased with my performance. It’s always a challenge fighting with the younger guys, you know? It gets me even more motivated to train and get there feeling good.

Did Lucas Valente, who stood between you and the gold, surprise you?

I had never seen him fight. He arrived well in the final, despite not fighting twice to get there, landing straight in the semifinals. Either way, he took out Renato Canuto in their semifinal match and advanced. I saw this fight up close and noticed how flexible he was, as well as good at going for the legs. He likes doing the lasso with the lapel, a position that obstructs a bit. He did it to me, in fact.

What’s your assessment of the final?

He played a pretty obstructive game with the lapel, but I continued to press, without making mistakes. I undermined his guard from the top, playing on both sides until reaching a better position. At the end of the fight, I almost passed a few times, and in the final minute I swallowed his leg to go in. That was the strategy — slowly gaining space until he gave in. It worked.

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