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The “Brasileiros” is one of the toughest tournaments in the world, and always one of the most exciting. Here’s what went down. 

The Return of Nicholas Meregali 

Alliance black belt Nicholas Meregali was THE breakout star of 2017, winning the World Championship in his first year as a black belt. After his amazing conquest he disappeared, and this was his first return to competition since that monumental day. 

Meregali tore through the opposition, tapping out every opponent. He finished Igor Schneider of NS Brotherhood with a choke in the super heavyweight final, his fourth straight submission in his weight division and his seventh overall counting the absolute (in which he took third place). 

Competing up at super heavyweight, Meregali’s trademark fire and focus was on display and his jiu-jitsu looked sharp as ever. A good sign of things to come for Worlds. 

Rudson Mateus chokes Horlando Monteiro. Photo: Will Safford

Rudson Mateus goes old school in MHW final

It’s not often you see closed guard players any more, but Rudson Mateus is one of the best examples of a simple yet effective game that is rooted in solid fundamentals. He swept and latched onto Horlando Monteiro in the medium heavyweight final and cinched up a rear naked choke from a standing body triangle. 

Middleweight champ Marcos Tinoco. Photo: Will Safford

Marcos Tinoco’s last ditch effort wins gold

Alliance had a good showing at the Brasileiros and took the team trophy. A key element of that was Tinoco’s gold medal in the middleweight final, a narrow win over the returning Yago de Souza of NS Brotherhood. 

Souza has been off the scene since he broke his collarbone at the 2017 Pans, but looked great in fighting his way through to the final of one of the biggest divisions of the day. Tinoco was down an advantage the entire match and evened the score in the last 10 seconds, putting him ahead due to an earlier penalty against Souza. 

Rafael Mansur sweeps Gianni Grippo. Photo: Will Safford

Mansur edges out Grippo in razor thin match

Gianni Grippo just can’t catch a break. The only non-Brazilian in the finals, Grippo was leading in his match with NS Brotherhood black belt Rafael Mansur right up until the final seconds of the match. 

Mansur hit an amazing sweep in the last 10 seconds of the match to even it, making it a referee’s decision. They decided 2-1 for Mansur, probably thanks to the last big move being by the Brazilian. They always say that the last thing a judge sees makes the biggest impression, and Mansur worked hard for that sweep. 

This marks Grippo’s third silver in two and a half weeks, having placed second at the UAEJJF King of Mats and World Pro. 

Tayane Porfirio on top. Photo: Will Safford

Tayane Porfirio does double gold

Undisputed No.1 women’s black belt Tayane Porfirio took double gold at Brazilian Nationals, her second major double of the year following her Euros golds. She skipped Pans due to a spinal injury that she is still treating, but looked unstoppable in her win over Luzia Fernandes in the ultra heavyweight final. Unfortunately her absolute gold came by default as opponent Claudia do Val got hurt in the heavyweight final (but still took gold) and was unable to compete in the final of the absolute. 

Both Absolute Finals end up as default golds

Victor Honorio was scheduled to compete against Lucas Barbosa in the absolute final but withdrew due to sickness, leaving “Hulk” to pick up a default gold. Neither man competed in their respective weight divisions today, with Hulk in as a medium heavyweight and Honorio as ultra-heavyweight. 

Notable points

• Fellipe Andrew’s savage footlock against Dimitrius Souza in the heavyweight final was a sight to behold. Down three points due to a guard pass, the Zenith submission machine grabbed a foot and the tap came quickly after. 

• Bianca Basilio edged out Ana Carolina Schmitt via one advantage in the lightweight final, fighting with a seriously hurt knee. Basilio skipped the absolute division the previous day due to the injury, 

• Yan Lucas  (aka “Pica Pau”) beat Jhonny Loureiro via a hard fought for late sweep to win his first Brazilian National title. He was coached from matside by a very happy Saulo Ribeiro. 

• The only closeout came in the light featherweight division, with Cicero Costha temamates Jose Tiago and Hiago George sharing the win. 

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