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Seven questions for Thales Leites

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Text by Andr? Ara?jo / Team TATAMEOne of the new talents with Nova Uni?o is BJJ black belt Thales Leites, who recently did the best fight on the Storm Samurai card held on July 2nd at Nilson Nelson gymnasium, in Bras?lia (DF). After defeating Gracie Barra Combat Team’s Fl?vio Moura at Vit?ria Extreme Fighting in May of 2004, the Nova Uni?o fighter did another fight, against experienced fighter Gustavo Xim?. ‘It was my hardest bout ever!’ Thales said. After defending an ankle-lock applied by Xim?, Thales applied two katagatame attempts, and the last one was fatal. He submitted Xim? at 2:10 of the third round, and now he wonders what comes next. ‘I hope this victory over Ximu helps me with my career. In spite of Storm being one of the main event in Brazil, I hope to fight at bigger events abroad. Now I am on my way to Hawaii, in August’, he said. Read the full interview below:Tell me about your strategy to defeat Gustavo Xim?… I did my best on the feet to make the distance between him and I shorter. When we went to the ropes, I put him down. My idea was not exchanging punches with him, since it was probably his strategy. During the second round, I applied a katagatame, but it wasn’t good and he escaped. But in the third round, I fell down on the bottom and reversed. Then I passed his guard and submitted him with another katagatame. Xim? was my toughest opponent and it was my hardest bout ever!You’ve had a hard time with then ankle-lock… didn’t you? When I was trying to pass his guard, he caught me with an ankle-lock. Despite the fact his corners complained a lot, I didn’t run away from the position. Everybody knows the only way to defend this submission is spinning over the body. I did it and ended falling from the ring.What did you feel about fighting without Andr? Pederneiras in your corner? He was in London with Vitor Shaolin… It’s always good when he is around. He has been always present at all of my bouts. To be honest he was with me all the time I have been training and this is important. Ded? was even more nervous than me. He even called us from England several times to know the results. The guys that stayed with me on the corner were great. They supported me and gave important tips. Having Jo?o Roque, Rodrigo Riscado and Danilo Sherman in my corner gave me confidence.After defeating Xim?, who is an experienced fighter, what do you expect to the future? I hope this victory over Ximu helps me with my career. In spite of Storm be one of the main events in Brazil, I hope to fight at bigger events abroad. Now I am on my way to Hawaii, in August. I will train with BJ Penn.Talking about BJ, what do you think it’s going to happen at his battle with Renzo Gracie? It’s hard to say, but I think BJ wins. BJ is such a tough guy and it’s very hard to put him down. I am going to help him with this bout.And about Gi competitions? Are you going to fight at BJJ World Cup, which takes place on July 24? I want to dedicate myself to Vale-Tudo… I didn’t fight any gi competition. But I am excited to fight at the BJJ World Cup. I just need to evaluate and sharpen my ‘pegada’ (BJJ catching). Because it is very different from Vale-Tudo.And about BJJ Confederation Worlds? I don’t have plans to fight in it. I think that cash prizes are important to professional athletes. That’s the reason I do not fight. About Submission events, I might even fight, because I train submission when I have some Vale-Tudo event in mind.

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