Rodrigo Cavaca Comments on the 2010 European BJJ Championship

CheckMat Rodrigo Cavaca
Rodrigo Cavaca in action against Paragon Jiu-Jitsu’s Bill Cooper at a Grapplers Quest event in 2009.

Rodrigo Cavaca, winner of the gold medal in the ultra heavyweight division and the silver medalist in the absolute division, speaks about his experience on the mats at the 2010 European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Lisbon, Portugal last weekend.

The FightWorks Podcast: Can you please introduce yourself to our audience, with your team name, how long you have been a black belt, and size and weight? Where do you live?

Rodrigo Cavaca: My name is Rodrigo Cavaca, I’m a member of CheckMat. I’m a student of Leo Vieira and I’ve been a black belt since 2006. I’m 1.91m (6 foot 3 inches) and 105 kg (231 pounds). I live in the city of Santos outside Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have my own academy and I’m responsible for 10 affiliate schools in my region.

The FightWorks Podcast: Talk about your fight with Gustavo Campos in the finals of the IBJJF European Championship.

Rodrigo Cavaca: The fight against Guto Campos was going according the way I’d planned it. My strategy was going correctly: I was in the guard, I set up a few attacks where I had a chance to submit him twice near the beginning of the match. Once was a leg lock and another was a foot lock, but he defended well. There was one moment where I got careless. He attacked me quickly and deservedly walked away the winner of this fight. Congratulations to him. Jiu-jitsu is like that: he who is not afraid to risk things will always go further.

The FightWorks Podcast: How exactly did you hurt your arm?

Rodrigo Cavaca: As for my arm, it’s fine. At the time it hurt a lot. I thought I had torn all the ligaments, but today it’s doing better. I am icing it a lot and taking an anti-inflammatory. I am even giving some classes with the crew here in Poland and my friend Przemo Gnat, who is a student of my good friend Robert Drysdale.

The FightWorks Podcast: When will you be able to train jiu-jitsu again?

Rodrigo Cavaca: I’ll be ready to return shortly. I arrive in Brazil on February 10th and from there I’ll be traveling again to the United States to give some seminars. I’ll stay there about 10 ten days. Then I return to Santos where I’ll remain in my academy, training with my students until 2 weeks before the Pan-Ams. At that point I travel to California with my students to regroup with the rest of the team (Lucas Leite, Joao Assis, Pantcho, Lapela, Marcel Louzado, Mike, Leandrinho Vieira) for our camp to prepare for the Pan-Ams.

The FightWorks Podcast: Was it difficult to get medical treatment the hospital in Portugal?

Rodrigo Cavaca: I didn’t go to the doctor in Portugal. I’m going to wait until returning to Brazil to see my physiotherapist Bruno Brito to treat my arm.

The FightWorks Podcast: Any other thoughts about your experience at the Tournament?

Rodrigo Cavaca: What I can say about the European Championship is that every year the talent gets better. The athletes are looking to start the year 100% prepared to take this important title on our [jiu-jitsu] calendar. With God’s help I earned first place in my weight and second place in the absolute division. I have seen comments out there that I am unlucky in Lisboa, as I lost last year to Marko Helen in the early rounds and this year I hurt my arm in the final of the absolute division. That doesn’t make sense to me – last year I was returning from elbow surgery and I hadn’t competed in a year… I returned and won [my weight class at] the European. It’s true that I lost to the Finnish guy but I can say that he’s not as unknown as he was made to seem. When it was time to put together the brackets no one wanted to fight him and every one ran from him. So he’s not so unknown! And this year I did lose in the final and hurt my arm, but let’s think – I had 8 fights in the Europeans this year and of those, I won 7 and lost one. I made one mistake in 8 fights. Where is the luck in that? Ending 8 fights in 30 seconds each?! So, that’s what I had to say. Thanks for the help and the interview. I’m available whenever you need me.

The FightWorks Podcast: Any other thoughts about your experience at the Tournament?

Rodrigo Cavaca: I’d like to send big thanks to my students, my physiotherapist Bruno Brito, my trainer Marcelo Zanellatto, all my family and my sponsors Koral Kimonos and GT Nutrition. Thank you.

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