Alan Belcher shushed any naysayers when he quashed Rousimar Toquinho’s leglock attempts at UFC on Fox 3 last Saturday. But just how was it that he managed to put a damper on the Brazilian’s ground skills? GRACIEMAG.com, via our contributor Diego Marcello, hunted down the American middleweight’s trainer, two-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion Daniel Moraes of Gracie Ilha team:
WHAT WAS THE SECRET TO ALAN BELCHER’S WIN AT UFC ON FOX 3?
The secret was in putting a lot of study into inner workings of the holds Toquinho uses. From there we did a lot of hard work in drumming up defenses, to prevent him from having his way. We did hours upon hours of specific training for such situations. We developed a variety of different tactics and defenses especially for the types of attacks Toquinho does. We had great help form ADCC champion Dean Lister and Jiu-Jitsu revelation Davi Ramos, both of whom are specialists in footlocks. They were fundamental for us to put our defenses to practice and keep Alan confident and comfortable to defend and win the fight.
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU HAD TO TRAIN BELCHER TO FACE TOQUINHO?
My brother Diego was at Belcher’s academy when they offered him the fight. The UFC offered the choice between [Chris] Weidman or Toquinho. Diego and I were more keen on Weidman, if just because we really like Rousimar, but also because we knew he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. In the end Alan’s team went with Toquinho because he’s higher ranked. They also believed in my Jiu-Jitsu to put the brakes on Toquinho. We did nearly three months of prep work.
DID THE STRATEGY WORK ACCORDING TO THE INITIAL PLAN?
Truth is, our strategy was to keep it standing. Even though Alan’s a black belt, he knew of the dangers of keeping the fight on the ground, but he’s so talented and was so confident that he went for the straight-out ground fight, and he nearly got the submission. He used our defenses and ended the fight with ground and pound, when he could have gotten up and the fight would have taken a different turn. The truth is that Belcher used Jiu-Jitsu against Jiu-Jitsu.
WHAT’S THE NEXT MISSION?
Now we’re working on some flaws, training a lot and waiting for the next fight. They’re saying he’ll face the winner of Vitor versus Wand, or Bisping. I feel a win over any of those athletes will qualify Alan to challenge for the title, but that’s up to the UFC to tell us, right (laughs)? Best wishes from the Team Moraes family.
HOW ABOUT GIVING OUR READERS SOME POINTERS ON HOW TO DEFEND LIKE ALAN DID?
Well, it’s really common for people to try and stand and kick to escape the heelhook. That’s one of the worst mistakes you can make. What you need to do is understand the basic principle behind the heelhook, know which way to spin and keep calm so you’ll use the right defense. Watch the video and learn: