Nogueira and the final hours that also made a difference

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Following months upon months of physiotherapy with Dr Angela Cortes to recover from three surgeries (two on his hips and one on his knee), Rodrigo Minotauro wasn’t going to let himself lose his fight with Brendan Schaub on minor details.

First, Rodrigo managed to convince his father, Hamilton Nogueira, to fly to Rio to support him in one of his fights for the first time. “My father always gets nervous, but every time he’s ever watched one of Rogério’s fights it ended in a win by knockout. It had happened twice! At UFC Rio he finally agreed to watch it live, and the outcome was no different: it was a knockout, too!” said the heavyweight’s twin brother.

Another boon to his performance came last week. To step into the ring in the perfect zone and gain further mobility, he called on physical conditioning coach and GRACIEMAG columnist Alvaro Romano, who has worked with Jiu-Jitsu and MMA stars for the last 25 years, to fly down from San Diego, California, to work with him.

Minotauro and Romano practicing breathing techniques on the beach /

Romano took up the task of guiding Mino through his final preparations, using Ginástica Natural breathing and mental training techniques, as Minotauro explains:

“I really like doing Ginástica Natural. For me what I like most, besides the mobility on the ground it provides me, is that Ginástica breathing helps me focus a lot during the fight.

“For this last fight we only did three days of Ginástica Natural training.

Three days from the fight, in the final stage of preparation, we worked on breathing and it got me super focused.

Two days before the fight we did two hours of breathing exercises. Then we did three intense sessions starting in the morning, which made it feel like my head was flooded with blood, causing me to think quicker, rationalize better. Ginástica makes my body more agile, and the breathing exercises make my mind more agile, allowing me to think quicker, concentrate more, rationalize better, putting me in a mindset whereby I can contain my emotions when it’s time to fight.”

In the following video you can see a completely relaxed Rodrigo in a prime state of concentration six hours before heading to the fire pot that was the HSBC Rio on August 27.

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