Fresh off World Pro title, purple-belt phenom Anderson Duarte sets new goal

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Photo: Personal archive

Anderson Duarte, 19, is ascending in competitive BJJ. On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the representative of Atrium, who trains under Rodrigo Castro and Mateus Garcia, outperformed the rest of the 62kg division as he won five matches—three on points, one by submission and one by unanimous decision—at the World Pro Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

On his path to the gold, Anderson measured forces against Japan’s Thomy Yano. The match ended in a draw, and, in the judges’ opinion, Anderson deserved the win, as he’d done plenty of attacking during the regular six minutes, as well as in the “golden score” stage. This was their second encounter.

“I had already fought and finished him in Lisbon, Portugal, in the European Championship,” said Anderson in an interview after the event. “This time, I was able to analyze that he was hesitant about exposing himself—he didn’t loosen up. Then it was just a matter of controlling and taking care not to be swept in the final seconds. But, despite the apparent tension, it was a chill final to a degree. I had had four difficult fights, and that gave me a lot of confidence to fight him. I fought in an intelligent way, because the goal was not to put on a show, but rather to win.”

Part of a division filled to the brim with athletes with lots of potential—such as the sitting Brazilian champion, Cleison Gabriel (Carlson Gracie), Carlos Elias (Double Five) and Kevin (Dream Art)—Anderson also spoke of the hurdles in getting to the final:

“I think there wasn’t a complicated moment, but rather some tension in the fight with Cleison Gabriel. On top of the judge not giving me the point for accessing his back, he even mistakenly interpreted a possible sweep to his advantage. But soon he saw he had messed up, and all was well. But at the time, I got shaken.” Anderson added: “My toughest fights were with Carlos Elias and Cleison Gabriel.”

A BJJ student for ten years, Anderson has the goal of again winning the IBJJF’s World Championship. His first title came in 2018, when he was still a blue-belt and beat a student of the Mendes brothers in the final.

“I’m going to continue my training, keep up my good nutrition and remain focused,” he said. “I want to win my second world title and then think about winning my first European, where I was a bronze medalist twice and took silver once.”

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