One of the best grapplers of all-time added another win to his MMA record in September, and could be one fight away from the big leagues.
Bruno Malfacine choked Christian Rodriguez in the first round of their flyweight bout at Brave CF 16, which took place Sept. 21 in Abu Dhabi, improving to 3-0 with all of his wins coming by way of first-round submission. Against Rodriguez, a fellow jiu-jitsu black belt, Malfacine admits he had to change his strategy a little bit.
”Everything went as planned, take him down and submit,” Malfacine told MMA Fighting, “but my original plan was to test myself more on the feet, but he was too tall and it was hard to find the distance, so I changed my strategy early in the fight. People haven’t seen me strike yet, but I’ve evolved a lot. My striking will be there for me when I need it.”
It took 13 months for Malfacine to go from his in-cage debut to scoring his third victory, but is still learning the process of preparing for a MMA fight.
For his first bout outside of Brazil, the jiu-jitsu legend admits to have made some mistakes in his camp, like not training much wrestling and doing little conditioning training.
”In 13 months, I had three MMA fights and two jiu-jitsu world championships, which are the toughest ones. I had a busy year,” Malfacine said. “Even though my fights didn’t last long, my camps were hard. I don’t think I’ve made many mistakes in this fight, but I’ve made some mistakes in my training camp and I have to work on that. I’m a perfectionist, I don’t want anything going wrong.
”If I want to be the best in the world, I can’t make mistakes,” he continued. “Everything has to be perfect in order for me to become the best in the world. I have to learn with my mistakes in every fight. That’s what got me where I am today. The pre-fight process is something I’ve learned in my career in jiu-jitsu, but everything is new for me in MMA. I’m still learning stuff, seeing what’s worth adding and deleting, but it’s a process that takes time.”
Malfacine now plans on taking a break to rest his body and come back to action in early 2019 for the last fight of his current deal with Brave. Gunning to become the No. 1 flyweight in the world in MMA, Malfacine says he’s in no rush to signing with companies like the UFC and Bellator just yet, but is confident that he would excel if given an opportunity.
”I’m in no rush. My focus is to evolve,” Malfacine said. “I’m lucky enough to have two great coaches by my side, Sergio Cunha and master (Ricardo) Liborio, who take care of me. There’s a difference between training a lot and training smart, and we do that to become world champion one day.
”They know the reality better than me. It’s funny that I have a little over a year in MMA, but I still have a lot to learn, especially on the feet, which is my biggest challenge, but I feel comfortable in there. Since my first fight, it feels natural for me. If I have to debut in Bellator or UFC tomorrow, I will be ready for it. (My coaches) will make the call. Whatever they say, I’m in.”