by Victor Freitas
A Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Royler Gracie, Cristiano Marcello is forging ahead with his preparations for UFC Rio, where he locks horns with Sweden’s Reda Madadi in the card opener.
Cristiano was part of the cast for the 15th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, on which he suffered a knockout in his second fight, at the hands of Sam Sicilia last February. But the setback hasn’t cost him any enthusiasm for his impending battle in his “own backyard”.
Speaking with GRACIEMAG.com, he analyzed his opponent:
“First of all, I don’t think much of the guy. We had a rift at an event in Europe. I got in the ring with him to set up a fight and he disrespected me. Now I do have to admit he has his qualities as a fighter. He has solid wrestling and can keep up the pace from start to finish. My strategy is to work on every facet of the game so I don’t get caught by any surprises,” the black belt formerly on the Pride FC roster said.
“I have a four-fight contract but what’s important to me is that I get the win. I’ll be fighting at home. Although I’ve been living in Curitiba for the last 11 years, I have my family, friends and my eternal Gracie Humaitá academy there by my side in Rio. That will give me strength in the fight. I like remembering how I’ve fought at all the biggest events on the planet. Now, I’m ready to carve out my place in the UFC,” he said.
The UFC Rio card went through a major facelift due to injuries, a subject Cristiano addressed during the conversation.
“These days, you fight every three months, so you have to keep up the rhythm the whole time, which drastically increases the risk of injury, if you don’t watch out. That’s why I’m always doing preventive physiotherapy with a massage therapist and taking lots of ice baths and rest. You have to feel when your body is asking you to take a break,” he explained.
Initially on the card for the UFC show on the coming 13th, Erik Koch and Quinton Jackson had to withdraw from the card due to injury. And José Aldo, scheduled to fight opposite Koch in the main event, hurt his foot in a motorcycle accident and pulled out of the event too.
HSBC Arena, Rio, Brazil
October 13, 2012
Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar
Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira vs Dave Herman
Erick Silva vs Jon Fitch
Glover Teixeira vs Fabio Maldonado
Phil Davis vs Wagner “Caldeirão” Prado
Demian Maia vs Rick Story
Rony “Jason” Mariano vs Sam Sicilia
Gabriel “Napão” Gonzaga vs Geronimo “Mondragon” dos Santos
Diego Brandão vs Joey Gambino
Francisco “Massaranduba” Drinaldo vs Gleison Tibau
Sérgio Moraes vs Renée Forte
Luiz “Banha” Cané vs Chris Camozzi
Cristiano Marcello vs Reza Madadi