Exclusive “Tanquinho” Interview and Match Breakdown - IBJJF Worlds 2013, Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes vs. Rafael Mendes

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Jiu Jitsu analyst Dan Faggella interviews featherweight black belt BJJ world champion August “Tanquinho” Mendes about his recent win over Rafael Mendes - and breaks down the most interesting transitions that made the difference in this match. Hear Tanquinho’s thoughts on match strategy, and more.

Tanquinho defeats Rafa Mendes to win 2013 IBJJF Worlds

Fans and practitioners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were as excited as they’d ever been for the 2013 BJJ World Championships, held in Long Beach, CA from June 1st to June 3rd. What the crowds probably weren’t ready for, was the number of upsets in the finals of the black belt divisions this year.

At featherweight, Rafael Mendes (Team Atos) stands above the competition as the most dominant featherweight grappler alive. His titles at the World Championship and the ADCC (the world’s most prestigious submission grappling competition) put him in a place of dominance. When he met Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes (same last name, no relation) in the finals of the World Championship the last time, the victory ended up in the hands of Rafael - the expected winner. This year’s “Tanquinho vs Rafael Mendes” featherweight finals match was expected to yield a similar result.

This year, the match began with a quick 2 points being scored by Tanquinho which surprised almost everyone in the stadium - and especially Rafael Mendes. Down by 2, Rafael’s ensuing onslaught of sweep and back-take attempts continued for about 4 minutes until he was able to set up his “Berimbolo” back take transition (this transition is broken down in the full match breakdown in the MicroBJJ YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiAqE9a2J0M). Rolling underneath Tanquinho until nearly on his back, Rafael’s legs fell just out of position and Tanquinho was able to avoid the back take and transition to land Rafael in the 50-50 guard - another position which Rafael is known for.

The last minute of the match proved to be one of the most exciting. Rafael maintained top position in the 50-50 guard, aiming to keep Tanquinho down for the remainder of the match, but Tanquinho was able to secure an escape and reversal in the last seconds of the match (See the full match analysis - including a breakdown of most important techniques and transitions at: http://scienceofskill.com/tanquinho-vs-rafael-mendes-2013-worlds-breakdown-exclusive-tanquinho-interview/#).

Recently, Jiu Jitsu Analyst Daniel Faggella interviewed Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes about his preparation and experience of facing off against Rafael at this year’s world championships. Tanquinho opens the conversation about the Rafael match with the following statement:

“I lost to him in the 2011 Worlds, but, after that fight - I made a strategy to fight him again.”

Apparently, in their 2011 match, Rafael had stealthily been able to pull guard on Tanquinho a number of times early in the match by reaching for the collar and sitting quickly to the bottom position. Tanquinho mentioned that he knew he’d want to alter his strategy, and so he decided that he would shoot for a double leg from far enough away to prevent Rafael’s guard pull. In this instance, the strategy worked!

Tanquinnho also comments on the final 50-50 guard scramble where he found himself in the last minute of the match with Rafael:

“I fought all of my matches with a knee brace... and so I really felt my knee in that position... but I couldn’t do NOTHING... it was either see the doctor or lose the fight.”

The injury makes the last 30 seconds match all that much more painful - but at Tanquinho’s torqued leg is being extracted from the 50-50 guard, he is able to cut behind Rafael and find himself behind in a clinch.

The match ends, and Tanquinho’s hand is risen as the victor. Later on in the interview Tanquinho talks more about his approaches to strategy, but it’s clear that at least in this instance, his approach was the right one.

For more blow-by-blow action of the

-Daniel Faggella

Daniel Faggella is a No Gi Pan Am Champion at Brown Belt, a writer for publications like Jiu Jitsu magazine, and Jiu Jitsu match analyst at Science of Skill dot com. He frequently interviews world BJJ champions about topics related to: effective training, strategy / technique, and more.

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