Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, a two-time nogi world champion and ADCC absolute gold medalist, hoped to challenge Josh Barnett for the Metamoris heavyweight crown Saturday night, but was forced out of the 20-minute match due to a rib injury.
"Disappointed is the word to describe right now," Abreu told MMAFighting.com. "It was hard to pull out from a match like this, but that’s the way it is. This injury would be a huge issue in this match."
Abreu wouldn’t be 100 percent ready despite the injury, but hurting his ribs made it impossible to go on.
"I was already overtrained," he said. "I had a knee surgery in December and couldn’t train for a while, so I came back full speed as soon as I was cleared to train. I couldn’t train wrestling because of my knee, so I trained too hard now. In one of those wrestling sessions, I sparred with a big guy and we went hard, and I blew my rib.
"It’s a complicated injury because the pain comes and goes. Depending on how I move, my ribs hurt a lot and I can’t do anything. I spoke with doctors and coaches and they asked me to pull out and stop training for a while, but I wanted to compete."
Abreu told MMAFighting.com about the injury on Saturday, but said he would try to go on and compete. Metamoris owner Ralek Gracie was informed about it, and started to look for a replacement in case Abreu wouldn’t be able to compete.
"I told Metamoris that I was injured, but would try to fight anyway. However, on fight week, I realized couldn’t do it," Abreu said. "I started to train hard and felt the pain again. Josh is way heavier and the way I fight, the way I do guard, it wouldn’t work."
Abreu, who is scheduled to meet Andre Galvao at the ADCC 2015 super fight in August, decided not to risk his next match.
"I couldn’t risk getting injured in this fight and not being able to represent jiu-jitsu, and get injured again and stay out of the gym for six weeks and jeopardize my ADCC superfight in August," he said. "Metamoris tried to find another heavyweight but nobody wanted to fight Josh."
"Cyborg" won’t be able to train for a while, and expects to be 100 percent to compete in August. The Brazilian grappler requested to be on the next Metamoris card against Barnett.
"I asked Ralek to let me fight him in the next event, I only need some time to recover," he said. "I can fight him anytime in August, I will be ready. I can fight him and then compete at ADCC, I don’t care. I want this fight because it’s a special one, jiu-jitsu against wrestling. I want to be the one to take Josh’s belt."
Ryron Gracie will step in against Barnett on Saturday night, and Abreu doesn’t believe he will beat the UFC star.
"I respect Ryron for his decision to face a guy like Josh. He’s a warrior, but I don’t see how he wins," he said. "Josh is a smart fighter and will watch Ryron’s match with Andre Galvao at Metamoris. Galvao thought he would steamroll Ryron and got frustrated. He didn’t win because he did the wrong strategy, and I don’t think Josh will make the same mistake.
"I never trained with Ryron, I don’t think he ever competed before that match with Galvao, so I can’t talk too much about it. However, looking at every aspect of this match, I don’t see it lasting too long."