Boxer moonlights as Jiu-Jitsu player

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Maldonado tries for a kimura lock. Photo: Carlos Ozorio

Paulo Filho was the main draw at Memorial Fight last June 4 in Santos, São Paulo state. But there was another beast on the card in Fabio Maldonado. Known for his boxing skills and knockout power, the fighter surprised everyone when he opted to play Jiu-Jitsu with Peru’s Jackson Moura.

“The world is turning upside down! Paulão got a knockout and I got a submission!” he joked after sinking the fight-winning guillotine choke.

“I’m training a lot. I know my Jiu-Jitsu’s kind of limited, but I train a lot of grappling. I do a lot of positional work and I’ve got some good moves. I’m trying to improve,” he added.

His looking to take the fight to the ground was partially due to the hard knocks he took in his previous Bitetti Combat outing against Holland’s Jeffie Gibbs.

“I was concerned with my rib because of the knee I took against Gibbs and that Peruvian is an undefeated professional boxer. I haven’t trained boxing in five years; that makes a big difference. It was a mistake from poor judgment of distance – something that gets worse with lack of training – that let Gibbs land that hard knee,” recounts Maldonado, who, in spite of his submission win, guarantees he’s not going to change his style.

“I really do love striking and sticking my face out there to hit. It will always be that way for me with these little gloves. To me it’s personal. It’s even a defect of mine being proud like that, but I’ll always go in there to strike,” he says in finishing.

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