Jiu-jitsu legends Rodolfo Vieira and Bruno Malfacine left the grappling world to focus on their MMA careers, and they experienced two different scenarios at Sunday night’s Shooto Brazil 74.
Shooto Brazil 74 took place last night in Rio, inaugurating the Upper Arena, a space built by Nova União to hold its new training center, as well as MMA events such as this one. Eleven bouts were scheduled, with two being particularly anticipated by the crowd.
Inside the brand new Upper Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, nine-time jiu-jitsu world champion Malfacine was the first to enter the cage. The flyweight took on Romário Boaes and didn’t wait long to reach into his toolbox. After a bit of striking, Malfacine shortened the distance, went for the legs, took his opponent down and struck him from the top. Malfacine lassoed an arm from the mount, but suffered a reversal. From the bottom on the guard, he shot for a triangle, achieving the win in only 94 seconds.
“It was an amazing debut,” Malfacine told MMA Fighting after the flyweight bout. “I was so relaxed all camp I told Fabio Gurgel and (Ricardo) Liborio on the week of the fight that something was wrong because I was too relaxed. At the weigh-ins, I finally felt the adrenaline. This morning, I felt the same adrenaline I felt before the world championships. I’ve dreamed with this for a long time.”
“The fight went according to the plan, which was to take it to the ground” he said. “I wanted to test myself a bit on my feet, but I got kicked and I thought ’no, no, no, I can’t stand and trade,’; I acted on instinct and took it to the ground. I attacked from the top, tried to finish from the mount; he reversed it due to my mistake, but then I launched a good attack on his arm.”
“People don’t understand the jiu-jitsu level of a world champion,” Malfacine said. “I knew that the first mistake he did, I’d capitalize on. I waited for this mistake and went for the armbar. He defended it, so I went for the other arm and got the finish. I heard his corner say ‘that’s the only thing he does.’ Yeah, that’s the only thing I do for now, but I do that better than anyone.“
Malfacine has trained for his MMA debut for five months at American Top Team in Florida.
Malfacine went back to the locker room right away to talk to Vieira, who was warming up to compete later that night. Vieira, who also scored a first-round submission in his MMA debut earlier this year, was facing Fagner Rakchal in a light heavyweight bout.
“I knew it would be tough standing because I knew he’s better than me,” Vieira said. “I worked on my takedowns, but he surprised me with his takedown defense. I didn’t imagine it would be so hard to take him down.“
Rodolfo started with a good standing base, but Rackchtal’s hard strikes were scary. Takedowns were hard to apply. Wise to the world champion’s game, Rackchtal would sprawl and work competently on the mesh to contain the takedowns. In round two, Rodolfo did better. The GFTeam representative managed a takedown, attempted a guillotine, and attacked an arm, but was pushed back each time. The last round saw both fighters give signs of exhaustion, but Rodolfo pushed himself to hold Rackchtal in a single-leg against the mesh; then he took a deep breath and pulled him down. After working on top, Rodolfo reached the mount and threw punches to open up space and sink a kata-gatame, with just 15 seconds to go.
“I don’t know what he threw, but it hit my hand and my finger was looking like an ’S’, all crooked,” Vieira said. “I put it right back, (referee) Osiris (Maia) looked at me and the fight continued. That affected me a little bit, but I couldn’t show it.”
“In my mind, I lost the first two rounds,” he said. “He connected some blows and I wasn’t able to connect, and I took him down but couldn’t keep him there. In my mind I lost both rounds. I’ve never seen (Liborio) so nervous before. He told me to take him down and finish him because that would be the way to win.”
“I believed in my jiu-jitsu and caught him in the end,” Vieira said. “It was a hell of a test. I went through hell and submitted him. We were very tired in round three, but I went with my heart. When I mounted and sank the kata-gatame, I knew I had him — it’s a strong position of mine
I’m evolving. I’m not even five percent of what I want to become. This is my first year as a professional fighter and I’m on the right path, surrounded by the right people. I will get what I want.”
On top of solid performances by BJJ world champions, the audience got to see three new Shooto champions crowned. Geraldo Freitas won the flyweight belt over Luciano Benício, Luan Danger RNC’d Jafel Filho for the roosterweight belt, and Jonatha Silva defeated Yan Teixeira for the straw-weight belt. The main event saw Marlon Sandro take down and submit Diego Arturo via kata-gatame in round one.
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