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Black Belt Jiu-jitsu World Champion gets tapped by Purple Belt!

Rodolfo Vieira succumbs to submission at UFC 258

One of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu biggest stars ever made the transition into MMA juts a few short years ago. Rodolfo Vieira is a multiple time IBJJF world champion including winning the prestigious Absolute division. He has submission victories over the biggest names in the sport and is one fo the most exciting fighters the sport has produced. His transition to MMA started off much the same with several back-to-back submission victories. His performance in Brazilian and Russian promotions earned him a UFC contract. Vieira won his first UFC fight in impressive form by submission in under 3 minutes of the first round. His next fight was against UFC fighter and Jiu-jitsu purple belt Anthony Hernandez. Rodolfo controlled the early part of the fight earning the mount position and controlling the fight on the ground. However, Hernandez stayed safe, calm and was able to escape and recover. Once back to his feet, Hernandez proceeded to land a series of big strikes to Vieira causing the Jiu-jitsu champ to back up, slow down and shoot for desperate, unsuccessful takedown. During a moment of fatigue and rest, Hernandez applied a very tight arm in Guillotine forcing Vieira to tap out!

How a BJJ purple Belt beat a Black Belt World Champ

There is a famous quote by Carlson Gracie: “punch a black belt in the face, he becomes a brown belt, punch him again, purple…” The simple reality is that Jiu-jitsu and MMA are 2 different sports. And while Jiu-jitsu is a function of MMA and plays a strong part in the success of any well rounded fighter, it’s not the same thing. There is no doubt that if the striking element of the fight were removed, Rodolfo would easily win, gi or no gi. But add to the equation boxing, Muay Thai, MMA rules, 5 minute rounds and you have a very different beast. Rodolfo found himself on the losing side of a striking match and in an act of desperation, went for easily defendable takedowns. During the last minute of the match, Rodolfo paused to rest on the ground and that was when a fresher Hernandez sunk in a beautiful choke. Rodolfo had to tap or be put to sleep

What can we learn from this fight?

This fight demonstrated the volatility of Mixed Martial Arts Competition and the importance of being well rounded. Rodolfo is a champion at heart and this will probably be the most important lesson of his career which I’m sure will be full of more and more victories. If you are a Mixed Martial Arts fighter remember, you are only as good as your weakest game. That means, if you are a master kickboxer but lack a solid ground game, you will eventually lose when you are taken to the ground. The same is true for the master grappler who doesn’t spend the time to develop a solid striking game. You will always have your style, your game, your strong areas. But never rest on one strength because your next opponent might be waiting to exploit the holes in your game


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