Brazilian BJJ black belt, Wander Braga has reached the impressive mark of 16 Vale-Tudo bouts and 16 victories. So many victories resulted in a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Brazilian was set to debut in the American Octagon on the upcoming UFC 64 card on October 14, but due to a visa problem, his debut was postponed.
Wander dominating in the Circuit of Freestyle Fights II in São Paulo, Brazil.
Brazilian BJJ black belt, Wander Braga has reached the impressive mark of 16 Vale-Tudo bouts and 16 victories. So many victories resulted in a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Brazilian was set to debut in the American Octagon on the upcoming UFC 64 card on October 14, but due to a visa problem, his debut was postponed. "I signed one year contract with UFC to fight Kurt Pellegrino, but I am still waiting for by work visa. I need to renew it in the Imigration. But I will wait because fighting at UFC is a dream coming true", said Braga, who will be replaced by Brazilian Junior Assunção in a fight against Kurt Pellegrino. Braga fought in the United States for the first time in 2003, at WEC, against Nick Ertl and won by judgess decision. After that fight, he fought at King of the Cage and now debuts in the UFC. In an exclusive interview with MMARR he talked about the early Vale-Tudo bouts in Brazil, when used to fight three times in the same night and his expectations in his debut in the UFC.
MMARR - You have signed a deal to fight at UFC. Who are you going to fight? Tell me about your expectation
Wander Braga - Its a dream coming true. I came to America with a dream: fighting in the UFC! And it took me five years of waiting... but God knows what He is doing and He gave me that chance. Now I will train harder and harder because I will not waste a chance. I am really anxious and I am fighting already this feeling. However, I am still waiting for by work visa. I need to renew it in the Imigration. UFC though it was better to wait, so they dont have to swicth opponents in case I dont get my problem solved. But ill fight soon, because I have signed with UFC for one year.
MMARR - In your category, who are the dangerous fighters?
Wander Braga - On October 14 the belt of the category -70kg I fight will be disputed by Kenny Florian and Shawn Sherk. In my opinion, those are the two fighters and they also experienced in the UFC competition...
MMARR - Your record is 16-0-0
which was the hardest fight in your career?
Wander Braga - The most difficult fight of my life was at Insider Fighter, in Vitoria, Brazil, in June of 1998. It was against a Capoeira fighter and also a BJJ fighter... his name was Ourico. He gave me a hard time, but I won by judgess decision. The other tough bout was against Jonny Eduardo, from Brazilian luta livre at Campeonato Brasileiro de Vale Tudo (BTV 6), in 1996. By that time, I defeated him by rear naked choke...
MMARR - Tell me about your fighting history in Brazil .
Wander Braga - I trained Jiu-Jitsu with Jorge Pereira for over 20 years. I have been a BJJ black belt for nine years and I have been fighting under Vale-Tudo rules for nearly 11 years. Ive participated in some of the main events in Brazil, in several states such as São Paulo and Espírito Santo. Then I moved to US and fought at KOTC and WEC. I belong to the old school... in early times, I used to fight three different guys in the same night. Since I was young I wanted to be a Vale-Tudo fighter.
MMARR - Nowadays, there are a lot of Brazilian BJJ fighters switching the mats for the rings. Youve made this change a long time ago. What advice you give to newcomers?
Wander Braga - You have to train harder and harder. You may not forget the physical part and you have to be good in every style. Even more in Boxing, Wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. You also have to know your opponents game, and study a lot his game and do the right strategy. You have to plan and tactical game with your coach, or professor. Those are the things I look for before fighting...
MMARR - Send a message to your fans
Wander Braga - To my fans... be sure I will do my best to be an octagon champion. Id like to thank my family and friends for supporting me. I also would like to thank my Brazilian team, Tata, and Guigo and my sponsor Bad Boy.