GB getting into MMA and Strikeforce

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It warms the heart to see Jiu-Jitsu win an MMA fight. More Jiu-Jitsu schools are getting into the sport, and Gracie Barra is no exception. You can find GB students in MMA matches all across the country. It’s like an epidemic and GB’s caught the bug. Recently, at Strikeforce: Houston, three GB students won their fights, making their schools very happy.

Vinícius Draculino in fight with Rocky Long, at Strikeforce: Houston. Photo: Mike Colón

Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes, who proudly wears the GB flag, fought Rocky Long, and worked him over during their three rounds. Draculino says that Long was favored to win by TKO. Clearly he was underestimated, and he says it’s because people think he’s strictly a Jiu-Jitsu guy with no standup skills.

“People don’t know it, but I’ve been training standup for a long time,” Draculino says, “I’ve been boxing and doing muay thai since the early nineties. I haven’t done it regularly like Jiu-Jitsu, but I’ve always trained in it. I have a pretty decent standup game, although MMA guys like to stereotype me as a pure grappler.”

Draculino says although the crowd was behind him, he surprised people with his win. “They said the grappler out-struck the striker,” he laughs, “It was a good victory. It could have been better if I’d finished it, but I was glad to win.”

By “finishing it” Draculino means submitting Long in the third round. By the time it rolled around, Draculino had already worn the fighter down. In the first round, Draculino hurt Long with a heel hook from a clinch. “It was deep,” he says, “He got stuck in the cage and his ankle popped.” After that, Long wouldn’t come towards Draculino because he didn’t want to get taken to the ground again. So, “The second round was boring,“ he says, “We even got some boos.”

In the third round, Draculino’s corner coach and friend, Roberto “Gordo” Correa, told him, “He’s losing and he knows it. He’s going to come forward this round. Finish him now.” Gordo was right. After Draculino’s first kick, Long came forward, and Draculino took him down in the middle of the cage.

Vinícius Draculino in last fight, at Strikeforce. Photo: Mike Colón

“He tried to stand up and gave me his back,” he says, “I was sinking in the choke, but he started to stand up again. I landed a punch near his jaw. It must have been right on the spot because he collapsed and made this really weird noise. I think it was like a flash knockout. He didn’t defend his neck, so I went for the choke, but the fight ended.” Long was saved by the bell.

Draculino didn’t get his submission, but he got the win. He says the night was unforgettable. “It feels good to work so hard and have that reward,” he says, “Mission accomplished. I was really happy. I appreciate all the support I got from my training team and the Jiu-Jitsu community.”

Draculino says that although Master Carlos Gracie, Jr. is not involved in MMA, he’s thankful to him for providing GB students the philosophy and spiritual support to do what they want to do. As for the future, Draculino says he has a lot of work ahead. “I want to open another GB school, and I’m working with Marcio Feitosa on a number of GB projects in Texas. I don’t think there’s going to be anymore fights this year, but who knows. I never say never anymore.”

Chad “Robo” Robichaux is an ex military man, and current GB black black belt who owns multiple schools, including GB The Woodlands. He’s always looking for a good MMA war and he got one fighting Humberto DeLeon. “I looked in his eyes and he was completely game to fight,” Robo says, “It was like another day at the gym for him. I’ve been wanting that.”

Robo’s finished every fight he’s had, but he was unable to close the deal in this one. He won the fight, but like Draculino, he won by decision after three full rounds. Robo wasn’t happy with what the critics had to say. “I never underestimated Humberto,” he says, “I knew how good he was, but I think others did. The local Houston media pumped me up so much and expected me to run through him, and I got judged harshly for not finishing him in the first round. It was frustrating.”

It’s hard to take criticism after winning a fight, especially when you think you did a good job. “I wasn’t at all disappointed in my performance and I’m hard on myself,” he says, “Humberto took the first round because he dropped me at the end of the round. I dominated in the second and outscored him in the third.”

Robo says he had Humberto in the first round, but got caught during the last thirty seconds. “I went for a kick and he caught it,” he says, “He threw an overhand right and hit me twice. He knocked me down the second time.” Robo says he getting caught angered him. “During the break, I was like, ‘Get me off this fricking stool!’ I wanted to get back out there so bad.”

In the second, Robo had a big take down and a lot of ground-and-pound. In the third, Robo felt strong in his standup. He had corrected his mistakes with counterpunching after the first round. “I landed push kicks to his face and leg kicks,” he says, “One time I fell down. He went to jump on me and then stopped and backed up. I opened my guard and he took his mouth guard out, shook his finger at me and said, ‘No, I have too much respect for you to do that.’ We both started laughing in the middle of the ring. Later on, a Strikeforce official said, ‘You know you guys train too damned hard if you can sit in the third round of a war laughing at each other!’”

When the fight ended, Humberto turned to him and said, “I survived Chad!” He was the first fighter to not be submitted by him. “It’s great to submit a guy in a minute, but it was fun to actually get to do everything I trained for,” he says.

Robo says thinking on your feet and having the ability to fix your mistakes on the spot in the midst of war is the key to success. “I think mental composure is everything in this sport,” he says, “You need to have a clear mind and be able to think during the chaos. You can’t perform at your very best otherwise.”

Adam Schindler of GB Woodlands is Robo’s student. His record is now 8-1. Like Robo, Schindler believes in closing his fights out with a submission. Six out of his eight wins were from chokes except for one, which was by Americana.

Schindler just received his brown belt last month. He’s been training in Jiu-Jitsu for about 3 years. He teaches at GB Woodlands and GB Champions Forest. To add to his resume, he’s wrestled since he was six years old. He was a national champion and All-American growing up. Recently, he spent a couple of months in Thailand training in muay thai and boxing. He’s been training both disciplines for three years.

Schindler fought Kier Gooch. In the first round, Schindler says, “I knew he was going to throw bombs. I came in like I was going to trade, but took him in a double-leg and got side-control.” He tried some submissions and then went to ground and pound. “I was throwing punches,” he says, “I trapped his near arm with my leg to crucifix him and he bucked and rolled. I took his back. We’re on the floor and I hit him. He was in tripod position and tried to stand. He exposed his neck. I reached under with my left. I had the rear naked completely in. He stood up and I had it really deep. I knew it was going to finish him.”

Schindler says he waited for Gooch to tap. “I was thinking he better tap or we’re both going to fall,” he says, “He tapped on the way down, but I couldn’t let go until the ref grabbed me.” When they pulled Schindler off, Gooch was semi-conscious. Schindler finished the match in 1:58 minutes of the first round.

He says he was happy with his win and excited to fight on the same card with Robo and Draculino. MMA is his career and he wants to excel. “It’s a competition,” he says, “I just want to win and put in my best performance. Like Jiu-Jitsu, it’s a chess game. Who can outperform the other. It’s not who’s meaner, it’s who’s smarter.”

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