These two met in the 2017 open class semi-final in one of the most explosive matches of the season. Competitors crashing into the crowd barriers, shouts and screams from the audience; That’s what could be seen at the event.
Even at black belt level, grips matter. They matter so much that most of what happens on the feet is fighting for grips. Whoever has the more dominant grip will control, throw or submit the other.
The takedown battle
A heavyweight really does not want to be taken down by another heavyweight. They’ll fight tooth and nail to get to top position even off the feet. The top pressure that they can generate is extraordinary. That’s why they often opt to battle for the takedown. The match was particularly interesting because of the different takedown strategies of both competitors. Where Mr. Mesquita would rather stand upright and look to counter, Mr. Almeida would rather shoot for the legs.
Santos has a judo background. Most of his attacks are straight leg foot sweeps and a modified cross-grip seoi-nage. The traditional seoi-nage is done with a 180 degree rotation. What Santos does, however, is a bit less risky. You don’t want to get stuck in turtle with a mountain on top of you. He drops in on his front knee to the side he wants to throw, and that’s exactly the throw that sent them both crashing into the crowd fence and the stands. Unfortunately, it only earned him an advantage.
Buchecha favors shooting for the legs. Singles and doubles are extremely effective and often work really well in combination with the half-guard. In fact, he almost got countered when he went for the chair sit throw. Underhooks and a well-timed stand up got him the takedown there.
There’s no room for error at this level. Even a single mistake can cost you the match.