Thursday, June 6, 2013

Because You Didn't Ask: My Thoughts On the 2013 Mundials Black Belt Finals Matches

Bruno Malfacine vs. Caio Terra

Gabriel Moraes vs. Ary Farias

Augusto Mendes vs. Rafael Mendes
Augusto clearly did his homework as in both closed guard and elsewhere he was actively stripping grips to frustrate/stymie Rafa's offense. The match was very reminiscent of Rafa and Cobrinha's matches with the same one-legged man scissor hopping contest which Augusto's athleticism and resilience and determination had him pull out of to score some last second advantages and pull out the win. Augusto has said plainly he is moving on to focus on MMA which is a shame as this year in particular he managed to beat both Cobrinha and Rafa Mendes, basically the consensus number 1 and 2 guys in the world in this weight class.

Leandro Lo vs. Michael Langhi - a tight affair with each sweeping at one point. It's easy to focus on Leandro's becoming ever increasingly well-known guard passing and to forget when he is rarely on bottom these days after beginning a match on top, he is also a proficient sweep-artiste extraordinaire. Leandro threatened many a guard pass, ultimately succeeding, but I'm interested to see how Langi fares with some more high level preparation leading up to the Mundials next year as visa issues kept him out of visibility this past year. Neither Langhi nor Lo have mentioned MMA aspiration on the short term horizon, so hopefully they will rematch in the coming calendar year.

Otavio Sousa vs. Claudio Calasans Jr - Otavio pulled guard, Claudio stood to break open and begin to pass, Otavio countering with DLR guard. Both guys are beasts and I was interested to see it play out as Claudio has been right there at the top in everything from the Abu Dhabi Pro to Pan to Mundials having only lost to the best of the best. Otavio came up on top after some footsie/inversion play, then Calasans swept back, then Otavio immediately attacked the arm, initiating a scramble, Calasans back on top trying hard to pass. A tough, tough match. Calasans had it, until he dove for that leg drag position, and Otavio rocked him off balance enough to be able to come up on top. Shenanighans.

Braulio Estima vs. Romulo Barral - Gentleman's agreement.

Rodolfo Vieira vs. Lucas Leite

Bernardo Faria vs. João Gabriel Rocha - Bernardo again pulls it out with his very dedicated plan of attack with the lapel feed/single leg to modified double leg. As usual, he got reversed from mount (I've seen this in a considerable number of his matches), but he pulled out the win, becoming 2x world champion. It speaks to his practice of those positions and the strength of those grips/positions that virtually EVERYONE in his weight class knows his game plan and he STILL imposes it at the world class level.

 Marcus Almeida vs. Rodrigo Cavaca - student and professor gentleman's agreement. The one agreement of this type in this sport I can almost agree with minus the fact that, "the battle is fought to be won" and it deprives the spectators and fans of a true finish.

Open Class
Rodolfo Vieira vs. Marcus Almeida - Rodolfo again threatened some good positions against Buchecha, but as soon as Buchecha felt the danger and turned up the volume, he began to pull ahead. It's hard to see any other big man with the athleticism of Buchecha in the field right now. Rodolfo is the closest, but Buchecha just looks too fast-paced and his ability to improvise (I'm thinking of a roll/reversal he pulled off to end up on top also makes him dangerous as well).

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