Popovitch to train with Sheikh Tahnoon, but first stirs the pot of controversy by @graciemag


Following some trying times, fortune has begun to smile on our GMA Pablo Popovitch (Avengers team), a Rio-born Jiu-Jitsu teacher living in Florida.

After losing his mother and his Teresopolis home with everything in it in January, the 31-year-old black belt was invited to bolster the training sessions of another stalwart Jiu-Jitsu stylist: none other than Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, a three-stripe black belt – and the prince of Abu Dhabi.

The invitation came after Pablo himself made the cover of GRACIEMAG. He is currently hard at work training to defend his ADCC 2011 title, not to mention an unbeaten streak dating back four years.

So what is it Popovitch is grumbling about? Well, after watching some footage from the 2011 World Pro, there were a few issues that caught the teacher’s attention, and he took it upon himself to share them with GRACIEMAG.com readers.

“Our training camp at Avengers in Florida is underway already, with a number of our students who have been standing out lately participating – like my black belt Vagner Rocha, who took third at the Abu Dhabi No-Gi Pro at both weight and open weight, losing both by referee decision. What I’ve been noticing is that the Gi game is based mostly on grips, strength and weight, with a lot of wins coming by way of a single advantage point and sneakiness,” Pablo told GRACIEMAG.com.

“The champion, Rodolfo Vieira, really does have a tight pass game in the gi. Without the gi, in my opinion, it’s another story: I see the weaker fighter fighting on even terms – and with greater chances of using technique to win. Such was the case with Vagner, who lost to Rodolfo in a fight a lot of folks felt he won. And Vagner only weighs 77kg (170 lbs). The same deal with Rafael Mendes, who lost by judges’ decision. No-Gi, in my eyes, annuls the grip game, evening the playing field when there’s a big weight difference involved. That’s my opinion.”

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