Q&A with local legend Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes

Interview by: John Villarreal

photo courtesy of mmajunkieOn August 18th, 2010, the MMA Carnival known as Strikeforce stopped by our quaint little Metropolis to give us a very memorable evening in the sport that we all love. To some, like my new Twitter buddy King Mo Lawal and famed Black House Manager, Ed Soares just another day at the office. For others, it was their first chance on the national stage.

For one man, it was his chance to get back to the dance. Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes is probably better at jiu-jitsu than all of us reading this combined. He’s a local legend who owns Gracie Barra Houston (Webster, TX), a national champion practitioner and also boasts a short MMA career. His last fight was over 5 years ago in Brazil. So why after all these accomplishments does a 39-year old teacher and school owner want to get back in the ring? Well, I had the chance to find out why with the man I call Drac.

photo courtesy of mmajunkie

Texas Fighting: First off Drac, what made you want to get back into the ring/cage after 5 years? Was your family for it? How big a role did they have in your return?

Draculino: I felt the itch again, and in my guts I knew that I am not done and could still perform at a high level. My family was concerned because I hurt my neck in training, but when I said I would do it anyway they gave me 100% support. They mean everything to me.

Texas Fighting: Who made the call to offer you the fight?

Draculino: Saul Soliz representing Strikeforce

Texas Fighting: Are you leaving the door open for a return?

photo courtesy of FightWorksBJJDraculino: Sure! The Old Draculino is back! I just have to focus on a couple of really important things to get done this year and then I will be back.

Texas Fighting: You’ve got the reputation of being one of the all-time nice guys in our sport. Did that ever make your opponents take you lightly?

Draculino: I can be the nicest guy in the world but I also can be pretty mean and aggressive. Inside the cage or ring, I try to do my job. If my opponent acts like a jerk, I would love to hurt him. If not, just enough to win.

Texas Fighting: What did you change about your training regimen for this fight in comparison to the last?

Draculino: Same thing, almost no change whatsoever. I just trained smarter this time. Avoiding injury was a top priority.

Texas Fighting: Were you at the level you wanted to be at with your boxing when it came time to step in the cage at Strikeforce?

photo courtesy of Draculino BJJ

Draculino: A lot of people think that I am just a BJJ guy. They are right! But I can strike also. Lots of people were commenting that they were surprised with my game on the feet and even said that I looked better than my opponent in this area. I have great striking coaches and training partners. I wanna say thanks to Kristen, Frank Adame, Pedrao, Angel Huerta, Cezario and Master Olimpio. I fit my striking game into my BJJ game very well.

Texas Fighting: You got to prepare with Frankie Edgar for this fight. Did Frankie ever sting you with a big punch in your preparation for this fight?

Draculino: Frankie is an amazing fighter, respectful person and a hell of a fighter! We trained more on the grappling side and thank God he did not hit me hard! He proved to the world that he is the best lightweight.

Texas Fighting: What is a more gratifying feat for you? Winning an MMA Fight or Winning the Brazilian National Championship in Jiu-Jitsu? Which is harder to win?

Draculino: A lot of people don’t know but winning a high level BJJ competition as a black belt is one of the hardest things in the world. For me a win is just as gratifying in BJJ or MMA. Same thing.

Texas Fighting: How did your students at Gracie Barra Houston (Webster) get you ready for this fight?

Draculino: They are great! I am blessed with such a wonderful group of students. I trained with my students for Houston and Belo Horizonte in Brazil. They pushed me a lot and helped me so much with everything. I have to mention Greg Bellomy that trained with me every single day. He helped me a bunch with my wrestling and was my main sparring partner here in Texas. He will makes waves in MMA. He is 4-0 as an amateur and 1-0 as a pro. Just a great guy!

Texas Fighting: In your opinion, who is the best jiu-jitsu/jujutsu practitioner signed to a major fight organization?

Draculino: Renzo Gracie with the UFC. He is a legend, master and friend. The man knows more NOGI BJJ in the world than anyone and is also the toughest man alive, EASY!!!

Look for the legend that is Draculino back in a cage near you in early 2011. For the very few in the sport who don’t know Draculino, you are surely missing out. Obviously one of the world’s most prolific BJJ practitioners, decorated all over the world as a Pan-American champion, Brazilian National Champion, Abu-Dhabi Competitor and 4th Degree Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr.

Link to Draculino’s Fight at Strikeforce Houston

Interview with Eduardo “DUDU” Ramos

Interview was taken at Marcello Salazar/BTT by sPidA. Enjoy the interview!

I am here with Eduardo “DUDU” Ramos, BJJ high level fighter, soon to be making his American MMA debut.. Lets get started.

sPidA: First off, what is your current MMA record?

DUDU: 2-0. 1 in New Zealand and 1 in Brazil and they are both wins.

sPidA: You are a BJJ Blackbelt are you active in BJJ tournaments?

DUDU: Oh yea, I prove my game, I like a lot of submissions… I am a BJJ high level and I have trained that way my whole life.

sPidA: As a member of ATT are you a black belt under Ricardo Liborio?

DUDU: No I received my black belt under my instructor in my City of Vitoria in Brazil.

sPidA: How did you start training with Liborio and the ATT?

DUDU: Ricardo Liborio invited me about 7 yrs ago and I’ve always trained hard with all the guys there, Mike Brown, Thiago Silva. I’m very proud about that. I’m ready to start fighting again in the U.S.

sPidA: You are scheduled to fight in Austin, TX on April 30th under the Wolfe Pack Promotions, do you know who your opponent will be?

DUDU: I haven’t heard about this guy but every professional that fights will have good skills. I trained hard for this fight so it doesn’t matter who I fight nor do I care. I just plan to go to the fight and put on a good show for the fans. I’m ready to prove my game.

sPidA: Another day at the office as they say.

DUDU: (laughs) Oh yeah that’s my work in the ring.

sPidA: So obviously you are a high level Black belt, what else have you trained in for your upcoming fight?

DUDU: I’ve been training in Muay Thai with Lumakang and Jiu-Jitsu/Wrestling with Salazar. He’s a really really good friend of mine. I train hard and have been here 2 months.

sPidA: What do you plan on doing after your fight and win on April 30th?

DUDU: I will be moving to Oklahoma and open up an American Top Team school there.

sPidA: And this will be your school? What classes can people reading this expect to find there?

DUDU:I’m the head coach at ATT for Jiu-Jitsu and MMA.

sPidA: I heard that you went to compete in the Pan Ams this past weekend, how did that go?

DUDU: I lost my second fight against Calvante. I train hard for that fight and he’s my friend but a fights a fight.

sPidA: Once again its business and you guys can remain friends after the match.

DUDU: Yeah, we stay friends but I lost to him. Won my first match 8-0 but everybody there is high level. My second opponent we were 0-0. I did the mistake and he submit me with a foot lock.

sPidA: Back to your April 30th fight, you will be fighting @ 205lbs, are you planning to stay at this weight class?

DUDU: For right now but I plan to fight at 185lbs.

sPidA: I see, that’s a great weight class to be in a lot of high level competition. You have a fellow Country man Anderson Silva dominating at that weight class. Did you watch his fight against Maia and what did you think about the outcome?

DUDU: I did.. when fighting you have  a lot of adrenaline, I wasn’t to happy with the outcome but a fights a fight. He thought about what happened after it happened. There both Brazilian, there both Professional. I trained with Maia in Brazil, we were friends and trained together in Brazil. This is when we were both Blue Belts.

sPidA: Obviously you are planning to fight at that level competition.

DUDU: Of course Of course.. I’m American Top Team, I train with a lot of tough fighters.

sPidA: Some which have been Champions in other MMA events, correct?

DUDU: Yes, American Top Team has a lot of good guys like Thiago Silva. They have a good camp and lots of great people to train with. The facility in Florida is very equipped and you have Liborio who is there to support. I am very proud of that. I cant wait to get back in the Cage.

sPidA: After April 30th, you are also scheduled to fight here in San Antonio for ABG Promotions on July 17th. After your victory celebration will you start training for that as  well?

DUDU: (starts laughing) Not thinking about that one yet. April 30th I’m taking serious. Then I’ll come back and start training again.

sPidA: So we know that Ju-Jitsu is your life, what else do you do when your not training for a fight?

DUDU: I love to surf, hang out with friends and not talk about class or training (laughs) Relax and let my body rest. Too much training and your body will always be stiff. Just relax.

sPidA: This is San Antonio so surfing is out of the question.We do have a River running through Downtown, have you been out enjoying the City.

DUDU: Marcello, plans on taking me there. Right now he’s still waiting to come back from his trip. You know, these flight delays, you never know how those will go.

sPidA: Back to your gym in Oklahoma, what other instructors will be helping you and will there be any other classes than BJJ/MMA?

DUDU: I have a lot of ties in Jiu-jitsu.We have a Champion Brown belt that will be coming to Florida ATT and then come to Oklahoma to help teach. He will be teaching kids and others that will be helping as well. They are all ready for Oklahoma.

sPidA:You are here visiting with Marcello Salazar, are you guys old friends? How did you end up here in San Antonio?

DUDU: I met Marcello Salazar like 15 yrs ago. He has opened the doors for me here and I am very grateful. He’s a good guy and a great friend. I am thankful to him.

sPidA: That’s great that he has remained a true friend and is willing to help out. We definitely need more people like that in the World of BJJ/MMA. Any last words to everybody supporting you in pursuing your Dreams?

DUDU: Yes, I would like to thank SPRAWL, Est: Dos Diez clothing, Marcello Salazar and the Brazilian Top Team. I’m American Top Team but Marcello is a good friend of mine, so thank him, Ricardo Liborio, my manager and everybody for helping me train and of course you guys at TexasFighting.com for this interview. Thank you and lets get ready for this fight.