ADCC and IBJJF world champion Rodolfo Vieira has just announced that he’s hired a BJJ coach for the very first time since he embarked upon his professional MMA career. He started off brilliantly when he first transitioned from professional grappling to MMA back in 2017, rattling off five finishes in his first five fights and earning a call from the UFC. Although Vieira started off just as well by winning his first two fights for the promotion, things took a little bit of a turn from there.
Vieira suffered his first loss in MMA at the hands of Alexander Hernandez, although the most surprising fact around the match was the fact that he was submitted. Although he bounced back with a submission win over Dustin Stoltzfus shortly after, he then lost a decision to Chris Curtis and slipped to 8-2 in his career. Now Vieira has been booked to compete against Cody Brundage at UFC on ESPN+ 81 and he’ll no doubt be eager to get back in the win column. Vieira recently sat down with Sherdog to discuss the upcoming matchup:
“Cody is very tough. He’s dangerous. I respect him. He has a wrestling background and heavy hands. He has a good jab. In the UFC, there are no easy matchups. Anyone you face is good everywhere. I’m ready. And just because he has never been submitted, it doesn’t mean I’ll only look for that. My jiu-jitsu is sharp, and my striking is much better than last time around. My main goal is to get a finish before the final buzzer. I know it’s going to be a tough fight. I’ll be ready for that.”
Rodolfo Vieira also explained what his preparation for the fight with Brundage has been like, and he revealed that he’s actually hired a BJJ coach for the first time in his MMA career:
“I did my camp at Fusion X-Cel in Orlando. I’ve been here for four and a half years. I have three coaches. My MMA coach is Julien Williams. He’s the owner. Mano Santana handles my striking – boxing and karate. And then there’s Salenco Coutinho. He joined the team to be my jiu-jitsu trainer. I had been without a trainer since I migrated to MMA. He’s made a big difference in my game. My jiu-jitsu is much better. It’s giving me a lot of confidence. I have a great team, thankfully, including great sparring partners.”
It’s hard to imagine that a grappling legend like Rodolfo Vieira might even need a BJJ coach, but grappling for MMA is significantly different from grappling for Jiu-Jitsu competition. If Vieira is able to translate the successes that he found on the mats over the years to a similar level of success in the cage then it would be very hard for anyone to stop him. This change may very well be the thing that tips Vieira over the edge into being a legitimate contender in the UFC middleweight division and it’ll be exciting to see where his MMA career goes from here.