Trans After 2013 Euro Win: “For me, nothing’s changed.”

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Alexander Trans works to open Lagarto’s closed guard at 2013 IBJJF European Open / Photo by Ivan Trindade

Black belt Alexander Trans has always been a force at the IBJJF European Open in Lisbon, Portugal. Since 2010 he has accumulated six gold medals, at least one each year and at three different belts.

From Copenhagen, Denmark, he travels the world competing and accomplishing titles in the ultra heavyweight division for his Checkmat team. At the 2013 European Open last month he won his division and placed third in the absolute. In the process he conquered names like Lucio “Lagarto” Leonardo Nogueira and Rodrigo “Cavaca.”

We asked him questions regarding his specific matches with Leonardo Nogueira, Cavaca and his future plans:

You had two fights against Leo Nogueira in Lisbon. First he choked you from the back but in the second match you swept and passed his guard to win. Why do you think the two outcomes were so different from each other?

I think they were so different because when I fought him on Saturday I was completely exhausted. I didn’t eat well during the day, my matches started a lot later than I had expected, and then after my fight with Lagarto, that was extremely hard. I didn’t have any energy left and was feeling really dizzy. But that’s my own fault, and my own responsibility, so it’s not an excuse just my thoughts about what happened. I could tell that he felt I was weak too and so he went after me from the start. But he was on his day, and he felt really strong. I just would have liked to have made a better performance, because that wasn’t me in there.

I just would have liked to have made a better performance, because that wasn’t me in there.

Leo Nogueira told GRACIEMAG that he controlled the whole match on Sunday and that you fought for only 30 seconds to win. Do you agree with that? Why?

I don’t know if I agree that lying on bottom in closed guard necessarily is the same as controlling the fight. I felt like I was trying actively to open his guard, and I actually got swept because I was taking a risk trying to open it. But when he swept he was obviously in control of the fight. I think I swept with a minute left, so I guess I controlled the last minute of the fight and he controlled the part from where he swept, until I swept. But I do agree that I only swept him and passed his guard because he made a mistake trying to pass my guard, and another mistake when he landed on bottom. I think the same goes the other way around, too. He swept me because I made a mistake trying to open his guard, but that’s kind of how it is you know? If I just sat in his closed guard with both hands on his collars, I think he would have had a hard time sweeping me too, but then we would be sitting there for 10 minutes. But it was a tough match, he’s very strong, and he’s in a really good phase. I was happy to get the chance to fight him.

You had some amazing results as a brown belt but struggled a bit when you came to the black belt division. Could the title in Lisbon mean that Trans is now a serious contender in the category?

For me, nothing’s changed. I’ll just keep concentrating on training hard everyday, and doing my best everytime I fight. I don’t have any expectations, I’ll just do my best as always.

The ultra-heavyweight final was against one of CheckMat’s leaders, Rodrigo Cavaca. Was it strange for you to compete against him since you are on the same team?

No it was normal. We’ve never trained together. It would have been strange for us not to fight. I would never fight a good friend and training partner, but for the sake of the sport, I think people should fight when its possible. I prefer fighting people from other teams, but on the other side, its good for the team that its two CheckMat guys doing the final.

In the final against Cavaca you also got the pass in the last seconds. Is that something you planned or it just happened?

No not at all, I was trying to open his guard but he controlled my posture really well. He’s really strong, especially in his legs, and very flexible. He had a good strategy, trying to keep me in the closed guard and getting advantages without opening the legs. I think sometimes the judges should give stalling calls for the guy on bottom in closed guard too, if he doesn’t open his legs, and not just for the guy on top  if he can’t open the guard. I got two minus-points that I didn’t really understand. I was told after that one was for tying my belt when my gi was pulled off, and then I took a risk trying to open his guard and it worked out. Then I spent about a minute trying to put pressure to get to half guard, and from there I managed to pass.

Where will you compete next and what else is currently on your agenda besides training?

I’m going to fight the Pan, and after that I’ll travel to Brazil to train, and do the Brasileiro and the Mundial. I would like to thank my sponsors, Keiko,, and Workout Copacabana, and to my team and my family for supporting me.

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