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Gracie Barra New Mexico Professors Tussa and Barata headed to IBJJF Pro League

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Gracie Barra New Mexico Chief Instructor Roberto “Tussa” Alencar and Professor Rafael “Barata” Freitas have been selected to compete in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pro League Tournament on Saturday, December 7, 2013. The invite-only tournament will take place in Long Beach, Calif. in the Walter Pyramid at Cal-State Long Beach. 

“The Pro League event is a great competition,” said Freitas. “This competition closes out the year so they get the best guys from the year and put them against each other. I’m really proud to be able to be selected to fight at this tournament.”

Professors Tussa and Barata will each be in a four-man bracket composed of elite-level jiu jitsu aces.

Freitas will face some familiar foes in his bracket as he squares off against Samir Chantre, Laercio Fernandes and Gabriel Moraes.

“Everyone in the bracket is a world champion,” said Freitas. “I’m going to be competing against the best in the world in this bracket. I’m good friends with all these guys, but when we get on the mat, we are going to war. I’m training hard to face these guys and I’m training to win.”

Facing Moraes is an opportunity that Freitas has looked forward to for quite some time. As a blue belt, many years ago, Freitas was submitted by Moraes at the world championships in Brazil. The loss was crippling for Freitas and almost caused him to hang up his Gi.

“I’m really excited to compete against him (Moraes),” said Freitas. “We faced each other as blue belts. He tapped everyone, including myself, with a clock choke. That was my first loss and at that point I was about to give up on jiu jitsu and I was about to go back to soccer.”

On the brink of quitting the sport he now calls his passion, Freitas was given inspiration by Moraes.

“A year later,” Freitas recalled. “Moraes won the world championships as a black belt. That was unbelievable for a person to win the world championship one year as a blue belt and the next as a black belt. After I saw that, it motivated me to go back and train harder and keep going with my career.”

Professor Tussa will defend his title from the Inaugural IBJJF Pro League last year, but isn’t hanging his hat on previous achievements.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all to defend,” said Alencar. “Whatever happened last year, it’s all in the past. Last year I fought in the super heavy weight category, so this is a new challenge, new title to achieve.”  

In fact, he wasn’t even expecting to compete in this year’s event. Professor Tussa is currently in Canada serving as the jiu jitsu coach for UFC fighter Kyle Noke on the reality television show, The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia.

“I wasn’t expecting to get invited,” he said. “I am in Canada right now filming the TUF Nations and I wasn’t training for any competition. When I received the invitation I just couldn’t turn it down, I am a competitor I love to be in the arena so I accepted the challenge and I am in.”

Tussa will fight this year in the Medium Heavy/Heavyweight class and will face Diego Gamonal, Keenan Cornelus and Jackson de Souza.

“I like the opponents in my division,” Tussa said. “There are two young guys that I have to watch out for they having been doing very well this year in competitions. I am confident and ready to compete.”

Written by: Daniel S. Archuleta – daniel_archuleta1@msn.com

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