“I have such a passion for training…” Stephanie Alba Interview by: sPidA

sPidA: You’ll be competing in your 2nd MMA bout come April 14th,what did you learn from your debut in Mixed Martial Arts?

Stephanie: I learned soooo much from that fight. I mostly learned that in MMA you can not be one dimensional but well rounded. I think I’m becoming more well rounded.

sPidA: You’ve stayed active in Grappling Tournaments ,would you say your strong point would be your grappling?

Stephanie: Yes, its definitely what I love to do. Its like a chess match on the ground. Being a smaller chick its fun to be able to hold bigger guys down or be able to make space, reverse position and tap them out despite the weight difference.

sPidA : With all due respect to your gym Urban Jungle, have you crossed trained any to prepare you for your upcoming bout at the Legacy Amateur event come April 14th?

Stephanie: Yes! I’ve actually worked with some great coaches from 4 oz fight club. Jeremy and Bob push me in different ways. Those guys have a passion for fighting and I love how welcome they have made me feel. I think its smart to have other coaches helping out and giving me pointers and also being able to spar with other females. I’ve worked with some other great female fighters like Jennifer Scott and Kristy Kester over at 4 oz. I recently started working with my old boxing coach Aaron Pena from Gracie Barra, but Urban Jungle is my home gym. Tony and Michelle are definitely the ones who have inspired me to become a personal trainer and a fighter.

sPidA : Working as a personal trainer, is it easier to stay motivated before any of your competitions?

Stephanie: I think so.I basically live in the gym. My co-workers are so supportive of my training. Everyone I work with is always giving me advice as to what I should be eating, how I should be training and also when I need to rest and recover. They also help passively stretch me out so that’s always nice.

sPidA: What athletes in Mixed Martial Arts/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu do you look up to for motivation, any that you would like to train with?

Stephanie: Marc Ramirez one of my teammates at Urban Jungle who is someone I look up to. He helps keep me motivated and when we hang out its mostly talking about fighting and training. Recently another fighter Justin Rieswerg whom I got to hang out with during his last fight camp, taught me a thing or two about fighting and nutrition. All the women I went to fight camp with last July in Vegas G2 seeing what they are all doing really helps motivate me. I got to train with Carla Esparza and she has become one of my favorite fighters and I sooooo love her style. I would love to train with her again.

sPidA: What are some of your goals outside of Mixed Martial Arts / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Stephanie: Some of my goals are to finish school and open up my own Self defense gym that is geared toward women and children. I have such a passion for training and helping people out and changing lives for the better,

sPidA: You seemed to have really kept a strict diet to make weight, what will your first meal be after your bout come April 14th?

Stephanie: I have been sticking to a very strict diet. I’ve never had to diet before so its been tough since I love food but the thing I really want to have is a burger and a beer! =9

sPidA: With promotions like “Girls in Gi” making a wave for women in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, how much easier is it getting to cross train and meet other women that share the passion Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Stephanie: It is so much easier to train with women now. When I first started there were no women in my weight class at BJJ competitions. It was mostly guys. I’m so grateful that the sport is growing and we are now able to have such training available such as Girls in Gis. Its so different training with women than men. Our bodies just move differently. Makes it nice.

sPidA: Are your parents very supportive of what your doing both in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/Mixed Martial Arts? How do they feel about your choices in combat sports?

Stephanie: My parents are sooooo supportive of my training. They thinks its cool since I have such a passion for the sport. My dad likes watching MMA so its cool and brags about me to his friends. My grandfather was actually a pro boxer waaay back in the day so no wonder I like it. My mom wants to come to my fight but I don’t think I’m gonna let her. I think it would be too stressful.

sPidA: Thank you for your time Stephanie,wish you all the best, any last minute thank yous to those reading this?

Stephanie: I want to thank my coaches Tony and Michelle/Urban Jungle. My 4 oz coaches Jeremy and Bob and to all my teammates at both gyms. Tussle Fight Gear. Nokout, and everyone who supports me through it all. Last but not least sPidA for taking the time to interview me.

Legacy Amateur Series Dallas

Legacy Amateur Series Dallas: Feb. 10th (Fight Card courtesy of our friends at TXMMA)

145 TITLE – Rob Butler 8-0 SFS vs. Stephen Banaszak 7-0 Chop Shop MMA
185 – Evan Thompson 5-2 Machado JJ vs. TBD
155 Alex Melendez 3-2 Dallas Jawbreakers vs. 155 Delis Borges 2-1 Prevlaskis
185 Bobby Moore 1-1 Dallas Jawbreakers vs. Justin Patterson 2-0 The Gym
170 Lior Shporen 3-1 Saekson/Next Generation MMA vs. TBD
145 Sean Frado 0-0 Frisco Combat Club vs. Eddie Rodriguez 2-0-1 Mohler’s JJ
170 Chris Pfiel 0-0 Machado JJ vs. Edwin “Kyle” Entzminger 0-0 Frisco Combat Club
125 Philip Maravilla 1-2 SFS vs. Isaiah Gutierrez 1-1 Lutter BJJ
135 Sidney Cawdrey 1-2 TFS vs. Jace Bridwell 1-0 Tx Elite MMA
155 Jessie Palmer 0-0 Octagon MMA vs. Tyler Abalos 0-0 The Gym
185 Chad Box 0-0 TFS vs. Saul Balderas 0-0 Dallas MMA 300
125 Trevor Wells 0-0 Fitness Fight Factory vs. Daniel Cohen 0-0 Prevlaskis
125 Blake Wells 1-0 Fitness Fight Factory vs. Jonathan Stern 1-0 Mezger’s MMA
155 David Elizondo 0-1 SFS vs. Joshua Wing 0-0 Hicks MMA
135 Ivan Cole 0-0 Saekson’s vs. Omar Benjar 0-0 The Gym
125 Armando “Mondo” Villareal 0-0 Gracie Barra vs. Billy Washington 0-0 The Gym
145 Alfredo Vargas 1-0 Tx Fighting Syndicate vs. Humberto Martinez 1-0 Dallas MMA300
145 Jacob Perez 0-0 Phalanx vs. Andrew Sosa 0-0 Dallas MMA 300
205 Micah Williams 1-0 Gold Team Tx. vs. Major Dodge 1-1 Dallas Jawbreakers
Jeff Delosantos 0-1 Tx. Elite MMA vs. Philip Wakeland 0-0 The Gym
TBD vs. Sandy Curtis 0-1 Dallas Jawbreakers

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