This year, Rafael Henrique, brown belt lightweight from Gordo Jiu Jitsu Academy, won the Pan American and the Brazilian Nationals and was crowned world champion last week. Check out the best pictures and a summary of his fights.
Within 15 days of the Worlds, I traveled to California because of the time zone. I was training at Tinguinha's gym, along with my friends Marcio Cruz, better known as "Pé de Pano", and his brother, Rodrigo Cruz. Tinguinha led a specific training for the Worlds and I thank him for that. We have also been to Gracie Morumbi and trained there for two days where we were very well received by Fabio Leopoldo and Renan Vital.
The Worlds were very complicated, my brackets were tricky, in my opinion. My first fight was against an athlete from Gracie Barra, who I managed to finish with a choke.
In the second fight, I won by a advantage when the judge interrupted because my opponent had cracked a rib.
In the third fight, I beat the 2012 brown feather World champion, an Alliance athlete, who beat at the Europeans this year.
The fourth fight I won by 12x2, but even having done enough point, it was a complicated fight, because I had lost the 2012 European opponent for this athlete from Atos.
Finally, I got my fifth fight near the end, I choked him.
The sixth and final fight of the championship was the hardest. I managed to win only by a penalty, because my opponent made an illegal grip on my gi, and with that I was World Champion 2013 - lightweight brown belt.
It was certainly one of the most special days in my life, as I had been trying to be a world champion three years ago and made it at the fourth attempt. A wonderful feeling, since I experienced both sides of the coin. This achievement was only possible because I have a wonderful family that supports me and gives me all the support I need. Both in victory and in defeat, they are always by my side. I thank my father and my mother doing everything possible to see me happy, my girlfriend for her patience and for believing in my dream. My uncle Frederick who helps me and teaches everything he can. To my friends Marcio Cruz and Rodrigo Cruz for the words of confidence and strength before and during competitions, my masters Roberto Corrêa (Gordo) and Paul Perrotta (Rabicó) for teaching me jiu-jitsu, my team and my brothers who giving me a hard time during training, and Pride Fight Wear who provides me with gis to train and fight.