As Moicano prepares to bounce back from a tough defeat to 145-pound contender Brian Ortega, his first-ever loss in mixed martial arts, the Brazilian featherweight predicts that his wife Priscila Van Der Broocke will soon join him in the Octagon.
Priscila Van Der Broocke, 28, made her MMA debut in December, finishing Laila Oliveira via first-round knockout in Bahia, Brazil. Van Der Broocke is still in the early stages of her MMA career, but Moicano is confident that she will become a force in the strawweight division in the future.
”I think she has what it takes to get to the UFC one day,” Moicano told MMA Fighting. “She’s also a model, but she was an athlete her entire life, competing in other sports. She’s 5-foot-8, so she’s tall for the 115-pound division. She’s strong, too, so she will do well. I believe we have everything to work together in the UFC in the future, hopefully each one with a UFC belt.”
Van Der Broocke has been involved with sports for more than two decades. Her father and uncle have competed in sailing in Brazil, so she followed them to the lakes in Brasilia. She has also trained karate when she was 10, but the trainer was so strict she decided to quit the gym and move away from martial arts a little bit.
Moicano and Van Der Broocke were schoolmates in the early 2000s — and admit that they both had a crush on each other as kids — but their relationship only started 11 years later.
”We were friends at school, but he was always moving from school to school, so we kind of lost contact,” Van Der Broocke told MMA Fighting. “After a few years, we found each other on Facebook and started chatting and met again.”
Van Der Broocke already had some contact with fighting before dating Moicano, since her father was always a fan of boxing and Vale Tudo, but being around a fighter every day made her look to martial arts with different eyes.
”I started watching him train and enjoyed it,” Van Der Broocke said. “He taught amateur MMA classes in a gym in Brasilia, and one day I joined the class and enjoyed it. He thought I had talent, was impressed with my kicks — I think I had good kicks because I used to play soccer.
”Renato and I are always playing. When we’re relaxing at home and he’s watching the UFC, he’s always grappling with me for fun [laughs], and I had fun. That’s how I began to like jiu-jitsu, playing with him while watching UFC events.
”I’m a very competitive person, since my sailing days, but I used to train more than actually competing, and that’s one of the things that frustrated me. I started to train jiu-jitsu and muay thai and told Renato that I wanted to compete. I’ve competed in several jiu-jitsu tournaments in Brasilia, and then I said I wanted to fight MMA.”
Van Der Broocke decided to step into a cage for the first time in 2017, so Moicano brought her to Florida with him to train at American Top Team. Van Der Broocke’s first-round victory proved to herself that that’s what she wants to do for the rest of her life.
”When an opportunity comes for me to work as a model, I’ll do it,” Van Der Broocke said. “My body is good for modeling, and I’m lucky that that helps me in MMA as well, but it’s hard to do both.”
Getting beat up every day also doesn’t help your modeling career.
”Sometimes you have bruises on your shin or thigh, but nothing that some make up won’t help,” she said with a laugh. “What I really like doing if fighting, but I do like to work as a model, too. I think it’s fun. But if I had to choose one, I’d chose fighting.”
Moicano graduated his wife to blue belt in jiu-jitsu after her victorious MMA debut, and admits it wasn’t easy to watch her enter a cage to fight professionally for the first time.
”I was too nervous,” Moicano said. “I was in her corner and I was freaking nervous, but when the fight started and I saw that she was doing well, I started to feel bad for the other girl because she got knocked out pretty badly. It’s funny because when you like someone that much, especially your wife, and she might get hurt doing something, it’s hard to watch, but that’s her job now.”
Van Der Broocke is only 1-0 as a professional fighter, but being married to a top 15 UFC fighter — and being a model — could shorten her path to the big leagues.
”I think that being beautiful kind of gives you an advantage because it’s all marketing now, but that’s not everything,” Van Der Broocke said. “You can’t be just a pretty face but not be well trained. When the cage door closes, the better prepared fighter will win, not the prettiest. It does help for media, but I don’t think it’s essential.
“At the end of the day, my performance is what will open or close doors for me. Having good wins and good fights, that’s how you build a career, not how you look or who’s next to you.”
Moicano expects to see Van Der Broocke fighting again around May or June, but the focus now is on his UFC 223 clash with Kattar. His wife will be there in Brooklyn with him, and she’s confident in the victory.
”I think it’s going to be a great fight,” Van Der Broocke said. “I’ve watched him train, he’s focused on the win. I believe he will have his hands raised in the end, but I can’t reveal how.”