At 32 years of age, Bráulio “Carcará” Estima made his long awaited MMA debut last Friday in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, at the MMA event Titan FC 24.
The decorated Jiu-Jitsu competitor and ADCC 2011 superchampion choked Chris Holland unconscious with an arm-and-neck choke 3:21 minutes into their fight, to the joy of Estima’s Gracie Barra and Blackzilians teammates, including Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans and others.
The Zé Radiola student then spoke to GRACIEMAG.com about what he learned with the experience:
GRACIEMAG.com: Was it an arm-triangle you’ll remember for the rest of your life? How did it come together?
BRÁULIO ESTIMA: Yes, for sure. I feel the arm-and-neck choke is one of my greatest weapons. Once I get my elbow around—whether in mount, half-guard or sometimes even in side-control—, I’m really close to my objective of ending the fight. I try and focus on not letting that elbow slip off throughout the entire process. I use that whole part of my body, but the most important part is the readjustment of the shoulder against the opponent’s neck right after I get his arm across to the other side of his head.
At what point in your debut did you have the most fun?
It was a great experience for me. I enjoyed every minute of it, from training all the way to cutting weight. I feel everything went as smoothly as possible. I learned a lot throughout the journey and mainly during the fight itself. There are some aspects of Jiu-Jitsu that only click once you’re in there; it’s something you can’t explain.
Do you feel you made many mistakes? Is there anything you’d like to iron out for the next ones?
Yes, the biggest mistake I made was to go overboard with the food after making weight in Kansas City. I ate so much that I had to throw up after not managing to kick the mitts during warm-up. I wasn’t sick; I was just stuffed (laughs).
And what about during the fight?
I feel I have to walk in to the cage already revved up for war, because I went in there really relaxed, expecting things to build up slowly… And it builds up the whole time; you can’t let yourself lose focus. I also feel I need to position my guard better, seeing as the little gloves don’t protect you from your opponent’s strikes much. Anyone who does a lot of boxing has to be keen to that.
Do you have any tips for Jiu-Jitsu fighters who are thinking about practicing MMA?
To be a professional, it’s really important that you’ve got a foundation on your feet, even if it’s just enough of one to distract the opponent before shooting in on his legs. I recommend doing a lot of wrestling up against the wall and Jiu-Jitsu with the gloves on, shirtless and with Vaseline on your face to simulate what it’s really like in there, because it’ really slippery. I liked it; it was a good first step. Now I need to improve my guard to not end up backpedaling, which is where the danger lies.