Think With Your Head First…
Like every good grappler, Rafael Mendes doesn’t just jump right into things all willy-nilly. Grappling takes a tactical approach and being able to analyze the situation you are placed in. Mendes does just this; in some of his match you will see him basically allow his opponent to have their way with him at first.
Silently, Mendes sits back and awaits for his opportunity to present itself. When it does, all it takes is a blink of an eye for him to strike. Like a snake attack is pray, Rafa wraps and contorts his opponents is such a manner that they even have to ask themselves how they ended up there!
Once he has you in the palm of his hand, he ends it. The tricky thing about Mendes is, he will fool you with one submission, all while setting up another move that you didn’t see coming! One second he’s targeting your arm, and then he’s wrapped around your head looking for a guillotine.
You can never rest.
…And Your Feet Second
One thing I LOVE about Rafa’s game—given my leg lock obsession—is that he utilizes his legs in such a manner that he makes them a tool. Rather than just sitting there in the 50/50 waiting for his opportunity, Mendes uses his legs to separate himself from his opponents, all while maintaining a reasonable distance allowing him to strike when he wants.
In this particular match, Mendes would eventually obtain back mount, all the while using his feet to keep his opponent honest and not forget Rafa can end the match in multiple ways.
Not only did his feet tactics open up the door for potential leg locks, he was also able to utilize the body triangle. For any of you that have had this applied to you, you know just how effective this can be. It will drain the life right out of you!
Simply put, Rafael Mendes is a wizard on the mats. His talent is so well defined that even proper game planning doesn’t directly correlate to a win. You have to be super human to stop Rafa.