Vitor hones grappling, Durinho debuts in MMA next month

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Vitor in open training session at Mandalay Bay before UFC 126 / Photo: UFC publicity

Philadelphia, and in doing so has been putting a lot of effort into Jiu-Jitsu. As previously reported on, the “Phenomenon” practiced techniques with brothers Rafael and Guilherme Mendes and Gilbert Durinho, all this year’s world champions. Furthermore, he’s been doing Ginástica Natural with Alvaro Romano, a columnist of ours.

In the following interview, Vitor explains how his prep work is going and announces that Gilbert Durinho will be making his debut in the cage. Check out what he had to say:

You trained with the Mendes brothers and Durinho is still there. How’s that training going?

He’s not “Durinho” (“scrappy”, loosely translated), he’s Durão (“tough-as-nails”, loosely translated)! The guy gave everyone a hard time!

But did you manage to pick up on any good techniques for MMA from him?

I did. I even set him up with a fight next month here in Las Vegas. He’s going to fight. The kid is burly and he’ll be good at MMA. He’s been training with us, kicking butt. He’s been going all out in his boxing, working on his wrestling too. Next week Randy (Couture) will be teaching him some techniques; we had a talk about it yesterday.

Durinho breaks out in tears at Worlds. Photo: Ivan Trindade.

On the fight with Akiyama, what do you make of him as an opponent?

I feel the guy’s really durable and lands good takedowns. He’s apparently really strong. That’s my take. With four-ounce gloves, you have to keep on your toes. In the ring, you can’t even blink. My job is to act first, preempt him. Like the animals in the jungle, you have to be a lion, ready to hunt. The moment I catch him, I got him. I’m doing everything I can to be at my best. Mark my words, you guys are going to love it.

We also found out you started doing Ginástica Natural again and even did some exercises geared towards grappling. You did these workouts with the guys from Atos… So, could Jiu-Jitsu be the way to beat Akiyama, who has good takedowns?

I started doing Ginástica Natural again and it’s going great. It’s always been a priority in my life and I’m really happy to be training with Alvaro Romano again. It’s a part of me. I’ve practically been doing it since I was 15 in kenpo, and it’s in my genes. It’s been helping me a lot in my game. I’ve seen drastic improvements in speed and it’s not just good for my ground game, but my standing game as well.

And how’s your training for the fight been going?

Randy will be heading our training, Cesar Mutante just arrived here too – he’s going to fight in August. Everything’s going awesome! I’ve been working on my boxing with a great Mexican trainer; he’s sick. Muay Thai’s with Ray Sefo, and Jiu-Jitsu, besides Durinho, Drysdale tends to lend me a hand as well. Training’s going great, high level.

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