Talita Alencar is, to put it mildly, a force. The 2017 world champion has achieved incredible success from the time the was a blue belt, and her achievements have only piled up higher and faster as time has gone on. 2017 in particular has been her year, and if you think she’s going to slow down as the year closes out, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Alencar has been covered in gold this year, earning the title of world champion once again (having previously earned it in 2016 as a brown belt), plus coming out on top at Pans, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, and the Abu Dhabi World Pro. She was hoping to have the same result at ADCC, but lost to eventual silver medalist Bianca Basilio in the first round. Alencar makes no excuses for her loss, but acknowledges that the three weeks of preparation she had after being invited to replace Tammi Musumeci weren’t enough to get the necessary work done for such a massive competition. “I like my performance, but we always do better with more preparation and specific training — things that I did not have time to do,” she says. “ADCC is the only world championship that I needed to close 2017 with a gold key… Definitely was not happy with my performance, but I will have more opportunities!”
This champion is used to coming back and defying everyone’s expectations of her anyway. During Worlds this year, she had to face multiple-time world champion Gezary Matuda in the finals. “Everyone was asking if I was ready to fight with her, like meaning that I was not good enough to beat her… that I did not train enough to put up a great match there,” she recalls. “All of Checkmat was screaming her name: ‘Gezary vai te pegar.’ But when I saw this, it didn’t make me sad. It only gave me more motivation to be the best in what I do.” That motivation — plus countless hours of hard work — was enough for Alencar to defeat Matuda and bring home the gold, giving her what she considers one of the proudest victories of her career.
Tonight, Alencar will have another opportunity to cement this year as her best yet when she competes for the flyweight title against Team Lloyd Irvin black belt Aaerae Alexander at Fight to Win Pro 53. The Maryland event won’t be Alencar’s first time competing on a F2W card — she’s previously gone against Mackenzie Dern, and at F2W 16, she won her match against Maxine Thylin. And although most of her big wins have come from point-based tournaments, she “likes the challenge” of sub-only events like Fight to Win in addition to competitions that feature EBI rules.
Alencar is ready for whatever Alexander has to throw at her; she expects a good half guard with strong grips from her opponent, but she’s confident that it won’t be enough to stop her. “In my mind I’m already champion, because we train to be champions always!” she says. She’s not taking any time off from competing after this match, either. In addition to another Fight to Win match with Pati Fontes in December, she’ll also be preparing for the IBJJF NY Pro, a superfight at the Rolles Gracie tournament on December 9, and No-Gi Worlds. She’ll also be throwing a Vancouver seminar into the mix, and she’s planning on bursting into the 2018 scene when she competes at Euros as well.
This is an athlete for whom the competition scene feels like a second home, and she’s had a front-row seat to the rise in gender equality in the BJJ scene. She claims that recently, women have been able to compete in a lot of events (which include Fight to Win Pro) that pay female victors just as much as the men. “I can tell because I’m constantly competing. Still not the same of course, but getting there!” she says.
As Alencar continues her journey at the top, she keeps in mind that no matter the outcome at tonight’s F2W Pro event or any other tournament, she can rest well knowing that she put everything she could into the preparation required to be a champion. She prefers to stay away from social media sparring and controversy, instead letting her performance and record do the talking for her. “I don’t have to prove anything to anybody,” she says. “Only to myself.”
Watch Talita Alencar vs. Aarae Alexander, plus many more exciting matches when Fight to Win Pro 53 streams live on FloGrappling starting tonight at 6 pm EST.