Hailing from Manaus, Amazonas, Kalel Santos is one of the stars of jiu-jitsu’s new generation. Trained by Cícero Costha in Ipiranga, São Paulo, the young black-belt is part of the pool of talent currently making the roosterweight division so competitive. He’s coming off some important victories in events from the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro Tour’s Grand Slam, such as his gold medals attained in Rio de Janeiro, London, Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles.
A black-belt of one year, Kalel is excited about the challenges the sport’s elite offers in competition. His dream is to win the IBJJF’s World Championship and give his family a better life through the sport.
“Jiu-jitsu is a professional sport, and today we can have the certainty of improving our lives through the sport. I’m very happy for this,” he said in a recent interview. “I come from Manaus and have several examples of people who made it in jiu-jitsu. I have the dream of winning the Worlds and improving my family’s life. I want to travel the world, get to know new cultures and have my own gym. I dream of setting up a social project to give kids opportunities, also.”
With no-gi competitions experiencing a high tide, Kalel will be fighting at the IBJJF’s Pan this month in Houston, Texas. This is the second-biggest yearly no-gi tournament, after the No-Gi Worlds.
“About my division, I usually say it’s a category of fast, precise guys, where you can’t afford to make mistakes. Since no-gi makes the fight faster, I will prioritize my strategy of starting out ahead and exploiting my opponent’s errors. It’s all about having control! I usually play guard a lot, however I like passing more. It’s a complete game.”
A representative of Submit Your Friend/Cicero Costha, a gym in the United States, Kalel wrapped up by talking about how his training has been going at the biggest hub for sport jiu-jitsu:
“My training sessions here are very productive, and most of my friends are here. Because of that, sometimes we set up a camp where the training gets even better — the lighter guys plus the friends from team Cícero Costha.”