Fabiano “Pega Leve”, top ultraheavy at American Nationals

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Ultra heavyweight Fabiano “Pega Leve” Scherner of Team Quest is hard to miss on the tournament circuit. The big man is often seen dominating his opponents on the mats, trying to work a submission from the top position. “Pega Leve,” which means “take it easy” in Portuguese, does not refer to him being a relaxed man. Instead, it refers to his training partners getting mauled by the big guy and saying, “Hey! Take it easy!” At least, that’s the word on the street…

"Pega Leve" and Stephen Hall (left)

Pega Leve fought two matches in his ultraheavyweight division on Saturday in the gi. He fought Stephen Hall of Alliance in the final and won on points to take gold. “My takedowns worked very well,” he says.

Pega Leve, who lives in Portland, Oregon, enjoys competing at the American Nationals. “I won the Brazilian National Champion six times,” he says, and he considers the American Nationals to be on par with that. This year, Pega Leve also decided to sign up for the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials in San Diego. He took gold in his No-Gi matches in both his division and the open and came in third in the gi. “I lost to Buchecha,” he says.

"Pega Leve" not taking it easy / Photos: Deb Blyth

The 39-year-old still competes in the adult division and does very well for himself, although he intimates those days may be coming to a close. “It may be my last year in the No-Gi Worlds as an adult,” he laughs, “Those ten-minute rounds are pretty long.”

Pega Leve did not register for the Gi open class at the American Nationals but showed up on Sunday ready to go in the No-Gi tournament. He had one match, against Stephen Hall of Alliance, and won it on points to take gold in his division and then competed in the open, where he took third. He took on Matthew Jubera from Ribeiro JJ in his first match and won, but says, “I came into the tournament with an injury to my bicep. I put so much pressure on my opponent (Jubera), I hurt myself.”

Absolute podium

Pega Leve is originally a Brazilian Top Team black belt. He says he received his black belt  in 2002 after only four years of training. “The longest belt I was in was my brown belt,” he says, “I was in it for one year. All my other belts I was in for under a year each because I kept winning everything.”

Eventually, Pega Leve followed the path that many Jiu-Jitsu athletes follow and he got into MMA. Although his record is even at 8-8, he did fight twice in the UFC, against Brandon Vera and Gabriel Gonzaga, and once in the IFL, against Roy Nelson.

These days, Pega Leve is back to business as a Jiu-Jitsu competitor and an instructor at Team Quest in Portland. We will see him next at the No-Gi Worlds.

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