A Zé Radiola-trained middleweight, Otávio Sousa was the big name at the Spring Open, an IBJJF tournament that saw its first installment last Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center in California. The young professor of Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra closed out the middleweight division with his teammate Claudio de Mattos and secured the absolute title after closing out with his buddy Rômulo Barral.
“The championship was awesome, super well-organized as always. I feel the IBJJF is to be congratulated for always seeking perfection, just like in Jiu-Jitsu, for championships to go through without a hitch,” said Sousa in praise.
“As for my performance, again I’ll say it couldn’t have been better. I managed to come up with two more gold medals and got the finish in all my matches, all of them via choke—one from the mount and the rest from the back,” he recalled.
What GRACIEMAG.com wants to knows from Otávio is what his special secret to winning in Jiu-Jitsu is, if there is one.
“One of the things I always try to do is push for the finish the whole time to not give my opponent time to think. While he’s defending one finish, I’m already setting up another onslaught,” he said, offering a simple yet precious lesson. Of course, fighting like that takes years of training and a slick plan for attack.
Otávio recalled another recipe, one that’s ever-more necessary in the burgeoning, high-level sport.
Never underestimate anybody
“With each passing tournament I note that you can’t let yourself underestimate anybody; you have to respect everyone and be humble in there. I learned to be like that when I was little; my parents and teacher always told me that by being humble you’ll go far. I feel that’s where it’s at, and these days some athletes are missing that,” he noticed.
A couple of weeks out from the Worlds, coming up in late May, Otávio feels confident, but he says there’s a bit missing for him to get the gold.
“This Worlds is going to go off. Mainly in the middleweight division, where I’ll be fighting, all the competition is burly. I’m going to stay focused on my objectives, with my Gracie Barra teammates, who put in great performances at the Expo,” he said in conclusion.