Fabio Gurgel and UFC Rio: “A black belt who takes the back shouldn’t lose the fight”

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Fabio Gurgel na Alliance São Paulo, com Serginho Moraes. Foto: Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG

Fabio Gurgel at Alliance São Paulo with Sergio Moraes / Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG

There in the octagon after Sergio Moraes won his fight, Alliance kingpin Fabio Gurgel left UFC Rio overjoyed, just like all the other Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. For a moment, he time warped to a certain evening in Rio de Janeiro’s Grajaú neighborhood twenty years back.

“This UFC Rio is unforgettable for Jiu-Jitsu folk. There were great performances on the ground, like Demian’s, we saw four beautiful submissions, and we even had the whole crowd shouting ‘Jiu-Jitsu!’ which reminded me of 1991 at our luta livre-Jiu-Jitsu challenge event at Grajaú Country Club,” Fabio told GRACIEMAG.com this morning over the telephone.

Indeed, seeing Rodrigo Minotauro (author of the submission of the night—an armbar on Dave Herman) and Demian Maia waving the gentle-art banner before an HSBC Arena at fever pitch is something to remember.

Fabio, the good Jiu-Jitsu professor he is, went further than just praise and celebrations. After all, there were also lost positions and fights, especially wasted back attacks.

That was the case with Luiz Banha’s fight against Chris Camozzi, Massaranduba’s against Tibau, Erick Silva’s against Jon Fitch. The three Brazilians made it to back control but made nothing of it.

“The thing I say most at the academy is this: black belts who make it to a dominant positions, like back control, should never lose the fight. Of course in the UFC the opponent is always a tough guy capable of defending himself, there’s fatigue involved, and sometimes the hold slips; but you’ve got to be ready for anything. The way I see it, folks are neglecting the refinement and adjustment of the position, which they could have if they put in more Jiu-Jitsu-specific study and training,” he opined.

“I understand that in MMA you have to train a number of different aspects of the game, like striking and wrestling, but you have to be prepared not to let positions escape you, and to finish. Demian, for example, finally, after a long time, showed sharp Jiu-Jitsu and resourcefulness: as the glove got in the way of his rear-naked choke, he went to a hand-in-hand choke to end the fight. You have to practice different situations in training, with gloves, slippery opponents and everything. There will always be something to hinder you; you can’t let that be an excuse,” he added.

Specifically in Sérgio Moraes’s fight, the Gurgel student didn’t let his chance escape him. Once he was perched on his opponent’s back, he patiently awaited the opening for the choke hold.

DANA WHITE PRAISES ERICK SILVA AGAINST FITCH AND REMEMBERS GSP

“Sérgio fastened a figure-four with his legs around Renée’s back and waited. The figure-four is good when it comes to not losing back control, but by the same token it hampers you some in managing to attack. But Sérgio was fine; even if there hadn’t been enough time to get the tapout, he’d won the round. It happens that the figure-four around the waist wears the victim out. Just like that, Renée ended up giving way and going to the ground. And there Sérgio’s skillful enough not to lose the hold,” explained Gurgel.

One of the losses that most saddened Brazilian fans, the battle between Jon Fitch and Erick Silva was awarded “Fight of the Night” honors.

UFC president Dana White abounded with praise for the Brazilian, who came up on the wrong end of the unanimous decision.

“Erick Silva did well. He’s in great shape. He just has to learn from this fight the way Georges Saint-Pierre did after the Matt Hughes fight. He took it as a lesson and came back better. It was a great test for Erick. There was a lot of pressure on him but he did well,” said Dana White in evaluation.

For the complete results from UFC 153/Rio, click here.

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