Yuri Simoes: world champion, in the name of the mother

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Yuri Simoes of Checkmat has had his brown belt for one year. At last year’s 2010 Worlds, the 20-year-old came in third in his weight class, which at that time was medium heavy. As a purple belt in 2009, he took second in his heavyweight division and closed out the absolute with Bochecha. Yuri won his weight class at the Europeans this year and took second in the absolute.

Yuri Simões and his hero, his mom / Photo: Deb Blyth

Five days before the Pan he hurt his shoulder and couldn’t fight. He chose to come to the 2011 Worlds injured and needing surgery, hoping to be able to power through his matches and take gold home for himself and his team in spite of the pain. He wanted this year to be his year, and it was.

Yuri, who fought in the super heavyweight division, had five fights, and he won them all by submissions: armbar, choke, kneebar, triangle, and then in the final he won in 33 seconds with an omoplata. “I couldn’t believe I submitted him so fast,” the jubilant fighter said of his match against Michael Murphy, “I knew he was a judo fighter. I faked a double-leg and pulled guard. Then I grabbed his sleeve and got him in an omoplata.”

Yuri later competed in the absolute at the Worlds but was knocked out of contention and did not medal.

Yuri credits Lucas Leite and God, with his big win. “Lucas has helped me so much,” he said, “I train everyday, three times a day in pain. I believe in God. That’s the only reason I would do so well today. Thank you, God!”

Yuri said his mom is always supporting him and is his hero in his life. “My mom is everything to me,” he said, “My brothers, too… Ary Farias… they support me in everything I do.”

Next up for Yuri is to go back to Brazil and recover from his shoulder injury, but said he’ll be back in California in November for his first No-Gi Worlds.

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