Tanquinho vs. Rafael Mendes

Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes and Rafael Mendes: A Battle of Heart On the World’s Biggest Screen

Certain BJJ matches are just plain boring, there’s no way around it. The average MMA fan tends to shy away from watching events such as the Pan Ams and the world because to them watching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is like watching paint dry. We see it all the time in the UFC, when fighters hit the mat and start working their grappling skills, they start to boo and show they are unpleased.

But the match between Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes and Rafael Mendes at the 2013 IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championship is one everyone can enjoy and love, even those who aren’t necessarily “students of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” game. To learn more about Tanquinho or Rafael check out these articles about the fighters.

The Fight is On


The match starts with Tanquinho shooting in right away for the takedown and landing in the closed guard of Rafael Mendes. After some fighting in the closed guard Rafael attempts a triangle choke and switches it to an omoplata but before he could sit up Tanquinho postures and begins to work passing his guard again.

Rafael decides to go inverted and start attacking the legs of Tanquinho. Rafael tries sweeping Tanquinho with multiple guards but Tanquinho is unaffected and stays on top. Rafael starts an arm drag to Tanquinho’s back but fails and both men are in Rafael’s guard. Rafael starts a berimbolo and briefly takes Tanquinho’s back but Tanquinho counters by grabbing Rafael’s leg and uses it to take the fight to the 50/50 guard.

Tanquinho attacks Rafael’s leg with an Achilles lock and Rafael keeps standing and sitting back down. Tanquinho is unable to sweep him each time he stands. Rafael sets up a toehold and cannot get Tanquinho to tap.

Then one of the greatest scrambles I have ever seen in BJJ happened. Both men are fighting to take top position from the 50/50 guard and the crowd is going wild with appreciation. Tanquinho takes Rafael’s back and they both stand. Tanquinho tries to put both hooks in standing on Rafael and fails so he slams Rafael to the mat with authority and the match ends.


The crowd is on their feet, screaming for the amazing display of heart being shown. Tanquinho wins the match

The Keys to Victory

What I, and the crowd, love about this match so much is the amount of heart shown by both fighters. We hear about heart all the time in sports but this match is the definition of it in BJJ. Both fighters also put on a great show of BJJ guards, including the 50/50.

But what were Tanquinho’s keys to winning this match? He initiated first with his takedown and took first points which statistics prove he has a higher chance of winning the match now. He also played a great top game from inside Rafael’s guards and stuffed almost all the attempts to sweep him.

For me the two defining moments that “made” the match were when he prevented Rafael from finishing the berimbolo and when he took Rafael’s back at the end. He truly earned this victory and topped it all off with a huge slam in the end.

This match is one of my favorites of all time and I’m glad I could share it with all of you today.  . If you are interested in more match breakdowns from the 2013 Worlds and exclusive interviews you can check out my articles here! Train hard

Dan Faggella



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