UFC on Fuel TV 8’s Cristiano Marcello is, admittedly, nothing without his Jiu-Jitsu.
The lifestyle that comes from training in the gentle art has helped him in all aspects of his life, both professionally and personally, he said. As he prepares for his UFC battle with Kazuki Tokudome that takes place in Japan on Sunday, the black belt stays close to his roots, keeping his gi on in his training.
“My jiu-jitsu does everything for me,” Marcello told GRACIEMAG.com. “I keep training every day in my gi because if I don’t have my Jiu-Jitsu, I’m nothing. It helps me in everything in my life, from my personal life to my MMA life.”
The Royler Gracie pupil plans on implementing his best trait when he fights Tokudome in the Octagon. Jiu-Jitsu is the key to victory, and Marcello hopes his opponent will try to take the fight to the ground.
Off the back, there are several opportunities for Marcello to shine. Against a wrestler, the chances of a takedown are greater, and the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is banking on that very thing happening.
“His background is wrestling, so I hope he puts me down,” he said. “He’s the kind of guy that goes wherever you put him. Whatever situation you put him in a fight, he goes forward. He’s the kind of guy I like to fight.
“I train a lot of wrestling back at my academy, so I don’t have any fear about any situation in the fight … I’m going to put him in a bad situation.”
As for himself, when in a fight, Marcello likes to entertain the fans. Submissions and knockouts are what he’s looking for, and the UFC fan base can’t get enough them. Marcello is more than willing to provide that for the Tokyo crowd that will be in attendance at the Saitama Super Arena.
Leaving it up to judges just isn’t Marcello’s style. He’d prefer not to let someone else decide the outcome of a fight he’s in.
“MMA for me, every time I step in the Octagon, I go to submit or for a knockout,” he explained. “I don’t ever want to leave the fight in the hands of the judges.”
Leaving it up to the officials has caused Marcello some controversy in the past. In his last outing against Reza Madadi, the Brazilian won a close split decision. Much of the fallout from that fight included buzz about whether or not he truly won the contest, with some fans and media saying Madadi should have won the decision.
That’s all nonsense, according to Marcello. He’s confident he came out on top in the bout, and anyone who says otherwise can’t argue against the stats.
“The numbers, you can never go against them,” he said. “All the math says I hit him more than he hit me. Everybody knows his game. Everybody’s scared to go to the ground with me. I won the fight.”
But regardless of past decisions, Marcello plans on finishing Tokudome in Japan. It’ll be his 27th time visiting the country, but only the second time fighting in it. The crowd will be quite — as Japanese MMA crowds always are — and Marcello will enter the cage like, as he referred to himself, a professional.
But if Tokudome doesn’t respect the black belt, the tone will change and Marcello will look to teach him a lesson.
“I grew up inside the Gracie family and I learned a lot from these guys about lifestyle and the way you have to keep respect,” he said. “I have a line. My respect begins where yours starts. So if you [don’t respect me], I’m going to be happy to beat you.”
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