On Saturday, February 18, JiuJitsu.net will be hosting a challenge in Brea, California, featuring some of the best blue and purple belts in the world. Among them will be teen superstar Thalison Soares, also known as “Little Miyao”. Soares is one of the standout competitors in his division, having won gold just last month after competing in the adult category for the first time at Euros. Now, still months away from his eighteenth birthday in May, he’s going up against other athletes who, like him, are “just” blue and purple belts who could probably go toe-to-toe against lots of experienced black belts out there.
Despite what his nickname suggests, Little Miyao isn’t actually related to the famous twins. But he does bear a striking resemblance to them both in physical appearance and fighting style. However, the comparisons that have been made between him and the actual Miyao brothers haven’t inflated his ego. He avoids talking about his opponents, instead saying that he respects everyone. “I’m just chasing my dreams, but I don’t see myself [as] different from anyone,” he says.
Soares is well aware that this particular tournament isn’t going to be an easy victory for him. He’s entered into a sixteen-man bracket that includes 2016 blue belt world champion Andy Murasaki, purple belt world champion Gabriel Sousa, purple belt European champion Jonas Andrade, and many more. The JiuJitsu.net team has made sure that the lightweight bracket is nothing short of stacked, and to underestimate any of these athletes because they aren’t yet brown or black belts would be a huge mistake.
Still, Little Miyao is used to this kind of pressure, and he’s going to bring what he says is the best of himself to the mats on Saturday. “All the athletes [in the tournament] are hard, and it’s going to be war,” he says.
If you want to see the fights for yourself, all you need to do is visit the JiuJitsu.net page on Facebook at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 18. It’s not often you get to watch a jiu-jitsu tournament like this for free, so make sure you take advantage of it!