Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 6 - Rafael Mendes vs. Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles - 2008 Capital Challenge

(Last week’s edition can be found HERE)

Rafael Mendes and Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles have been long term rivals for over five years. In that time, they have fought each other a total of thirteen times with the majority of those matches taking place in the final. Out of those thirteen matches, Mendes has won nine of them, and Cobrinha has won four. 

The match I'm sharing with you today is the first time the two ever fought each other which took place at the 2008 Capital Challenge in Jordan. I know lots of you have seen many of the matches between Mendes and Cobrinha, most notably their matches at numerous Pan Ams, Worlds, and ADCC's, but I think not many of you have seen this one. 

Rafael Mendes is one of BJJ's new generation. Since his late teens he has been considered to be one of the biggest up and coming stars to hit the BJJ scene. At the age of 25, he has already won four world titles (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) as a black belt, and two ADCC titles (2009, 2011). He is notorious for his style of Jiu-Jitsu, which is mainly focused around modern Jiu-Jitsu techniques such as the berimbolo and 50/50 guard. These techniques are used frequently throughout his matches.

Rafael Mendes

Mendes is always a fan favourite to watch compete. His style of Jiu-Jitsu is very exciting to watch. The strongest part of Mendes' game is his guard, especially his de la riva and 50/50 guard. His attacks from the guard are very strong, and his guard in recent years has been impassable. However, this is not to say his guard passing and top game is weak. Mendes is notorious for the use of the leg drag pass to pass his opponents guard. In the 2014 Europeans, Rafael passed the guard of Paulo Miyao, a guard which no man has been able to pass, with the exception of Keenan Cornelius.

Today, Rafael Mendes is referred to as the king of the featherweight division, and is arguably the pound for pound best Jiu-JItsu fighter in the world. 

Rubens Charles, better known as "Cobrinha" (Little Snake), is one of Jiu-Jitsu's most accomplished competitors. At the black belt level, he is a four time world champion (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), four time world NoGi champion (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012), four time Pan-American champion (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and a one-time ADCC champion (2013). He is a black belt under the legendary Fernando "Terere" Augusto and was once part of the TT team. Since the breakup of the team, he has since joined Alliance Jiu-JItsu.

Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles

Just like Mendes, Cobrinha is known for his guard. His guard was voted as the guard of the decade by other Jiu-Jitsu world champions. The guards which Cobrinha uses the most often throughout his matches are the de la riva and spider guard. From both these guards, Cobrinha sets up multiple sweeps, submissions, and flawless transitions. I'm starting to feel like a broken record here, but Cobrinha again has a solid top game. From the top, Cobrinha is very aggressive and is constantly attacking making good work of using pressure. 

Throughout the match, you will see for the most part, Mendes use his signature berimbolo as well as the 50/50 guard and reverse de la riva. Cobrinha on the other hand, does a great job on top, and excellently neutralises the majority of the attacks used by Mendes. It should also be said that when this match took place, Rafael Mendes was just 19 years old! 

The video of this match can be found below. I hope you guys enjoy! 

See you next week!

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)  

video

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