The Steamroller takes gold at Las Vegas Open

Gracie Barra black belt Otávio Sousa was back in action at the Las Vegas International Open last weekend, winning gold in the medium heavyweight adult division. Sousa, who just turned 25 in July, was supposed to have two matches at the event but ended up with just one, against University of Jiu-Jitsu’s Ben Baxter.

Otavio Sousa / GM archive photo

“I fought Ben before at the Pan and beat him,” he says. Once again, Otavio was able to win with a submission from the back. “I swept him, passed his guard, took his back, and submitted him with a choke,” he says.

Sousa got the flu back in June and it really took a toll on his body. He lost a lot of weight and says he is still recovering from it. He wasn’t happy with his performance at the Worlds because of it, but he did come in second at the Samurai Pro after losing to André Galvão.

Otavio’s slowly been working his way back to good health and better Jiu-Jitsu, and was thus happy with his win at the Las Vegas Open. “I’m still underweight,” says the black belt, “I could have competed at middleweight at this tournament. But I’m happy with my day.”

Otavio, who was also refereeing the event, says he opted out of the open class because he felt unprepared for it. “I had breakfast really early and I’ve been refereeing all day, so I decided not to do it,” he says.

He says his favorite Jiu-Jitsu move is the armbar from mount. “I look for it all the time,” he says, “I’m patient and I smash the guy I’m competing against to try to get it.” Otavio, aptly known as the “Steamroller” in his Gracie Barra circle, will be hunting for his next armbar at the No-Gi Worlds this November.

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