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Predictability isn't always a bad thing.
We knew the second this match was booked that it would be a scrappy, tightly contested fight for survival – and these two savages certainly delivered.
Far from a blowout, Vagner showed the heart of a champion and dug deep to come back in the final minute of regulation to get the win.
Let's break down how he did it.
As we mentioned in our preview article, Celsinho's initial strategy was to counter the shots from Vagner, but the Fight Sports / VRMMA competitor didn't take the bait and instead chose to exchange heavy collar ties, calling Celso's bluff to see who would commit to a shot first.
Celso bit, and fired a solid single leg takedown attempt.
Vagner attempted to counter using his patented kimura trap, but the Ryan Gracie representative was able to shake him off, earning him two points in the process, as he was the one who initiated the sequence with a takedown attempt.
Now down on points, the onus was on Vagner to step up the pace; he needed to score on one of the most defensively sound players in the game.
Well aware that low double-leg takedown places himself in immediate danger of a Celso's vicious guillotine, Vagner instead chose to wrestle chest to chest, fighting for double-unders and making his way to the back. It was an effective strategy, but Celso was able to shake off Vagner several times and avoid getting any points put on the board.
"I had to bring that heat, get him breathing, force him to make a mistake. For me to make him make a mistake, he would have to be exhausted. I never miss the back, but he shook me off twice.. but you're not going to do that three or four times. " -Vagner Rocha
Despite the dwindling time remaining in the match, Vagner remained undeterred and pulled off one of the most skillful exchanges of the night. After wrestling chest to chest for the entire round, Vagner changed levels, taking Celso by surprise with a blast double and negating his typically vicious sprawl and guillotine entirely.
Not only is the technique beautiful in isolation, in the context of the match as a whole it shows a deep knowledge of pacing and adjusting strategies in real-time
From this point, the action needed to be reset in the middle for fear of landing out of bounds, and Vagner was able to finally able to hop on Celsinho's back with one hook in. There, Vagner was in his happy place and was able to fully secure the back with one minute left on the clock, giving him the points needed to take the win.
Another masterful performance from the king of violent jiu-jitsu.