MUNDIALS 2006, lessons and realities on CBJJ’s mats

Text by Denis MartinsPhoto Gallery by Paul SchrienerSunday, July 30- a cold and raining day turned the beautiful environment of Rio de Janeiro’s city to a gray one in that morning of the last day of MUNDIALS 2006. At the prior days of the competition rising stars from blue, purple and brown belt grappled on the mats of the CBJJ to earn their medals and gain the belts of different colors for new winds in the MUNDIALS 2007. We watched special BJJers being graduated at the podium, but not one of them deserved more credit than Kron Gracie. The son of Rickson had the tenacity of fighting without burden on his shoulders and the magnificence of submitting his 5 opponents to win his division and to have a new belt around his waist, the brown one. Back to last Sunday’s action; that was a great surprise for me to see how CBJJ is trying its best to have less controversy around than in previous years. Three judges are responsible for refereeing the fights, and the gap for minor mistakes is nearly dead. Of course it is Brazil, and nobody like to lose a fight, small complaints are still able to be heard, but less often. -“Veterans” collided with the reality- The absence of fighters like Marcio “Pe-de-Pano” Cruz and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was almost forgotten by the return of fighters who haven’t competed in a long time in MUNDIALS. And my attention was focused in how Nino “Elvis” Schembri would do at this, mainly because he was in one of the toughest divisions of all, the medio. The medio division is a domain of Marcelo Garcia, with Andre Galvao in his heels, so Nino had to have a meeting with one of them if his intention was the nod on the finals. Nino started very-well at quarter finals against Eduardo Rios of BTT, who worked satisfactorily, but not enough to avoid the sweeps of Elvis. And the crowd started at yelling “Elvis is not dead!”

Nino’s next match was against Andre Galvao, and this was expected to be a classic where the joviality of Galvao would be tested by the well-rounded game of Nino. However the first adjectival mentioned in Galvao’s favor was main factor when he shot a common double-leg and took Nino down. Elvis tried to work with an open guard, but the speed of Galvao overcame any of Nino’s attempts of sweeps and reversals. The sequence was a passage of guard, knee on the stomach and the catch of the backs with one hook. But attention, any of these moves are scored like points due to the speed of Galvao, who looked for a submission which didn’t come late, when he sunk a lapel’s choke(relogio) and forced Nino at tapping outin premature 1:10.

Other veterans were dropping along the event we can mention include Marcio Corletta and Jose Mario “Esfiha”. The other semifinal of the medio had thecharacteristics of a classic match, Daniel Moraesversus Marcelo Garcia. Moraes had beaten Garcia inADCC Brazilian Trials 2003, and I wanted to see howMoares would combat a more polished Garcia’s game than that opportunity they did in 2003. Garcia pulled to the half-guard and Moraes tried to gain an advantage at reaching the full guard passage, he didn’t whileGarcia fought to free his gi of the best grip on it ofMoraes. Garcia close the guard, and Moraes stalled abit on the top, which rendered him two warnings. Thefight kept this methodical pace and fighters werere-started on their feet, Garcia pulled again to hisdangerous guard and Moraes took opportunity of it in aintelligent movement to gain the half guard, and hedid- scoring one advantage. So, the action stopped,Garcia restored his guard and they stayed there withno action much action, boos started and the centralreferee disqualified Moraes by lack of action, bystalling the fight on the top Another classic fight before the final was at super pesado between Roger Gracie and Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros. The height of Roger was a big trouble for Comprido, who has troubles on the gi grips when they were on the feet. Roger caught the lapel’s gi ofComprido on the feet and it didn’t get to free himself of it. Roger took Comprido down and nearly got the mount, Comprido defended but Roger kept attacking and nearly got the back. In same time Roger tried the grab of back, he worked a choke, and this was a hell of situation for Comprido who couldn’t defend himself well. Roger caught the backs with 2 hooks and scored 6-0, Comprido restored the half-guard; nonetheless Roger passed it and got the mount. The number of points scored and the control of the fightby Roger gave us the impression of a submission coming. Then he worked chokes and triangles from the top position, until he tied Comprido’s arm and finished the fight by armbar at 9:49. Finals review: Never hesitate and a champion without fighting the final.- Pesado

Xande Ribeiro pulled the fight to the guard and -still standing – he gave-up of this and returned to the gi’s grips against Tiago Gaia. So this time for Gaia pulls to the half-guard. It seemed to have eased the job of Xande, who caught the back of Gaia and choked him out in 4:40. Xande commentated a lot his victory and showed a t-shirt with Carlson’s image on it. He lifted the t-shirt and told everybody Carlson was the best. Super-Pesado

Robert Drysdale pulled to the half-guard, and in my opinion this is not the good way of starting a match against a fighter of Roger’s caliber. Roger had no mercy of Drysdale and passed his guard and grabbed the back of Drysdale, and tried to sink a lapel’s choke. Drysdale gave in the mount position when turned, and Roger sunk a frontal choke at 3:30. Galo

The guys began the fight with a high-speed pace butbelieve or not they didn’t score any point in whole10 minutes fight. Evaniel Oliveira, started with an omoplata and got his advantage, Daniel Otero freed himself of it and started to score his advantages until the electronic score to emit the sound thatindicates the end of the fight, 6-4 in advantages to Otero. Pluma

Bibiano Fernandes came across like the winner of thisdivision due to the disqualification of both semifinalists(Dai Yoshioka and Carlos Holanda) by lack of enough action. This scene I never watched in my life, both guys tried to pull to the guard, and stayed with backs on the mat calling each other to their guard. They kept like that for an irritating amount of time, it irritated the rules too and the referee disqualified both fighters. By his side, the champion (Fernandes) schooled his opponent in quarter finals by armbar and in the semifinals by lapel’s choke and didn’t leave any doubt who’d be the champion if someone had faced him at the finals. Pena:

Gracie Barra’s Marcio Feitosa gave Rubens Charles atough beginning of the fight, but after the first minute it was all Charles. With an impressive display of submitting Feitosa; Charles swept and passed the guard. In the mark of 7 minutes and 55 seconds Charles sunk a tight armbar, but the old school of Feitosa made him to defend it after seconds of tension. At the end of 10 minutes Charles was victorious by 8-0 (one more guard passage). Leve:

Mario Reis is an excellent competitor and his awards don’t let us to think different. However since he started changing academies in last 2 yeas, he became a fighter without identity. Against Celso Vinicius of Gracie Barra; Reis didn’t find out his game in any moment. Vinicus pulled him to the guard and swept Reis, who didn’t have nobody yelling instructions to him, while Vinicius had all crowd in his favor. Vinicius imposed his bigger will of winning and passed the Reis’ guard, while Reis didn’t anything effective to turn the score to his side. End of the fight and Vinicius was the champion by 5-0 in points and 5-1 at advantages. Medio: Bitter rivals Andre Galvao and Marcelo Garcia were in front of each other again on this final. Like in Brasileiro 2006 Garcia took the title, but this time he didn’t finish Galvão, a sweep was enough to score the two points which rendered him the tournament.Garcia pulled to the half-guard and did his traditional X with the legs around the Galvão’s left leg. Galvão was unbalanced and did delay to be swept by Garcia. Galvão worked all the time with half guard and Garcia tried to sweep, but they didn’t jeopardize themselves enough to change the score more than he did and it kept 2-0 to the champion Garcia. Meio-Pesado:

With both fighters representing Gracie Barra, the action seemed to be a little rehearsed, I hope not at all. With a war of sweeps Delson Pe-de-Chumbo and Braulio Estima alternated moments on the top and on the bottom and Estima took the championship by 3 sweeps against 2 of Pe-de-Chumbo. Pesadissimo:

UFC competitor Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga is showing everybody that with a good calendar and a proper system to work in two different type of fight competitions you can be successful. Napao played a smart game against Leonardo Leite at finals- Leite is a Judo black-belt and to keep the fight stand against him is a risk. So Napao tried to pull half-guard and sweep. The fight came back to their feet and Napao – with a consistent game – was avoiding the takedowns attempts of Leite and pulled the fight again to the guard. Leite made a solid base, and grabbed the legs of Napao to not allow the sweep, but once again Napao swept for despair of Leite, who didn’t have enough tools from the bottom to revert thescore within 10 minutes and Napao is the Mundials Pesadissimo 2006 champion. Absoluto:

Roger and Xande Ribeiro are usually meeting each other at finals of all competitions, this happened in Pan American 2006 and each one won one match, however Roger had the bonus of submitting Xande in the contest he won at Pan American 2006. Roger looked all the time for the submission and maybe he paid for it in the outcome of this absolute final replete of emotion. Xande had a good strategy on his mind, and after to be taken down by Roger, Xande swept and reached the half-guard. Roger had one advantage too by an omoplata attempt and swept Xande to score 4-2 in points. Until then the points were what kept Roger winning, but Xande had gotten more one advantage. The clock marked 9:50 and Roger kept pressuring Xande on the feet, and it cost him the victory when he went ahead of Xande, and it took advantage of his small height to dominate the grip and take Roger down. With than seconds to go, Xande circled around (what Roger should’ve made) and guaranteed his crown of absolute champion 2006 over the skilled Roger.

The CBJJ paid a nice homage in memory of Carlson Gracie Sr.; and miss Marly Gracie and Mr. Paqueta (the filmmaker and Carlson’s best friend) received the BJJ diploma in name of Carlson.

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Denis Martins