UFC 109 takes place this Saturday. For some of those present at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the fight between veterans Randy Couture against Mark Coleman is the real main attraction. However, to Gentle Art lovers, this event is of special interest, as at least six Jiu-Jitsu black belts will see action in the octagon: Demian Maia, Rolles Gracie, Matt Serra, Paulo Thiago, Ronys Torres and Dan Miller.
A ground specialist who has won such tournaments at the pinnacle of the sport grappling as the ADCC, Demian Maia faces Dan Miller, who is no slouch on the ground either, having recently been promoted to black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
“Everything is great. I’m already here and I trained today. I’m prepared for the fight and all that’s missing are some final adjustments. Dan Miller may well be the most dangerous guy I’ve faced ground,” said Demian to GRACIEMAG.com.
Another black belt, Paulo Thiago had help in improving another variable, his striking. The fighter was in Rio de Janeiro training with none other than Anderson Silva to prepare for Mike Swick, which GRACIEMAG.com reported first hand (see here).
“To have the opportunity to train with Anderson was a privilege for me. In the latest issue of UFC magazine he was voted best MMA fighter of all time. He really added a lot to my learning and I made some adjustments to my game and in training,” he told the UFC website.
Rolles Gracie will have the tough task of representing the family that has represented the Gentle Art in the UFC since Royce Gracie first fought for the organization. Thus, besides the prep-work he has undergone with Renzo Gracie, in preparing for Saturday’s bout – now against last-minute-substitute Joey Beltrano –, he sought the help of one of MMA’s most successful coaches, Greg Jackson.
“First of all, he’s a cool guy. But I like going there to train, because the guys I’m going to fight are exclusively MMA fighters. In New York, I have great training sessions with Renzo and all my training partners, but they’re more Jiu-Jitsu guys and they accept the ground game. They’re not worried about going to the ground with me, and I don’t think that’s what will happen when I step into the octagon. I think they’ll try and avoid the ground, and at Jackson’s academy I was able to train with guys like that,” Rolles explains.
Another great finisher in the event is Ronys Torres. The beast from Manacapuru, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, will face one of the Gentle Art’s mortal enemies: Melvin Guillard.
“The good thing about Jiu-Jitsu guys is that they give me the chance to get the knockout of the night bonus. That’s how I’ll go into my next fight. I’ll be explosive and I’ll unload everything I have on this guy”, says Melvin Guillard.
Ronys responds: “I’ve trained Jiu-Jitsu since 1999. I can’t expect him to take me down and use what he’s learned of Jiu-Jitsu, and he can’t expect me to strike with him using excellent muay thai and boxing. Of course it’s MMA and I’m ready standing and on the ground, but I don’t believe he’ll fight me on the ground. You can’t learn Jiu-Jitsu in just six months. He’s been losing and he doesn’t intend to get another poor result. That’s why I think they matched this fight, pitting a newcomer to the organization against a guy who needs a win. He’ll try to knock me out, I know, but I’ve done my homework. Now we just have to wait for showtime. ”
For Jiu-Jitsu lovers who also enjoy MMA, the only better thing better would be to put on a gi and roll!
Check out the complete card:
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
February 6, 2010
Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman
Nate Marquardt vs Chael Sonnen
Mike Swick vs Paulo Thiago
Demian Maia vs Dan Miller
Matt Serra vs Frank Trigg
Preliminary fights (not broadcast on TV)
Mac Danzig vs Justin Buchholz
Melvin Guillard vs Ronys Torres
Phillipe Nover vs Rob Emerson
Brian Stann vs Phil Davis
Tim Hague vs Chris Tuchscherer
Rolles Gracie vs Joey Beltran