Vinny Magalhaes’ busy run won’t end until late September, and he wants to go 3-0 in three months.
A former UFC light heavyweight, "Pezao" returned to the win column in MMA with a first-round submission over Jorge Gonzalez in Mexico, and he’s scheduled to meet Jason Brilz for the vacant Titan FC 205-pound title on Sept. 26. Sandwiched between the MMA bouts is Metamoris 4, where he faces Keenan Cornelius in a no-gi match this Saturday in Los Angeles.
"I fought in MMA three weeks ago and I have another fight scheduled in seven weeks, so this match with Keenan is right between those fights," Magalhaes told MMAFighting.com. "I obviously want to win, it would be cool to have three wins in three months, but my main focus is the MMA fight with Jason Brilz."
Cornelius was recently promoted to black belt by Metamoris 4 headliner Andre Galvao after an impressive run as a brown and purple belt, so training for a MMA bout when you have to enter the mat against a tough opponent isn’t probably the best idea.
"It’s the opposite, actually," he explained. "When I won the ADCC in 2011, I wasn’t training for the ADCC. I had a title defense at M-1 three weeks after the ADCC, so I wasn’t focused at the ADCC. The ADCC was good way to see at what stage my jiu-jitsu was, and I went there and won. I did 10-minute matches with a lot of tough guys and went 20 minutes with (Fabricio) Werdum in the final, who has way more experience than me, and won.
"I have no pressure whatsoever against Keenan. It’s just another match," he continued. "I believe that the MMA training is way harder than jiu-jitsu only, so it was actually good for me to have these MMA fights around this match with Keenan."
"Pezao" knows it won’t be an easy match, but is confident that a no-gi contest gives him an edge over the Atos black belt.
"His game is different. He did well at the last ADCC, had some good wins in no-gi grappling, but his game is better with the gi because that’s his focus," he said. "He has nothing surprising in his game actually, nothing that I haven’t seen already.
"It’s a good match, he has a lot of hype behind him right now, people calling him a phenom, this and that, so it’s a good match. I want to show that my rhythm and technique are at the same level despite the fact that I don’t compete very often in jiu-jitsu anymore. I think it’s going to be a good opportunity to show that I can beat the guys that are competing today."
Magalhaes was initially scheduled to face Cornelius at Metamoris 3, but was pulled from the card with an infection. The MMA veteran won’t have to make weight this time with the change of the rules, and that’s one of the advantages heading to Metamoris 4.
"I haven’t stopped training since my last fight, and I have a fight with Brilz next, so there’s no way I’m not in a better shape this time," he said. "I’ve been training hard for four or five months now. For the first match (at Metamoris 3), I had to make 224 pounds, and there are no weigh-ins this time. I could come in at 242 pounds, but I’m already at 224 now, so I’m in better shape."
The Brazilian fighter is currently signed with Titan FC and has a title fight coming up with a fellow UFC veteran, but he plans to continue competing in grappling and jiu-jitsu whenever he has a chance.
"My focus will always be MMA, but I don’t have a contract that stops me from competing at ADCC or Metamoris, so I will continue to compete," he said. "It depends on where I’m fighting. Titan FC allowed me to fight in Mexico and had no problem with me competing at Metamoris. As long as I’m allowed to, I will continue to compete."