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

PRESS RELEASE: Strikeforce Houston Results – Feijao Shocks King Mo, Souza Wins Decision Over Kennedy

PRESS RELEASE: Strikeforce Houston (Aug. 21, 2010)

Hard-hitting striker Rafael Feijao shocked STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Champion “King Mo” Lawal with a devastating third round knockout in Saturday’s SHOWTIME® televised main event at STRIKEFORCE: Houston at Toyota Center.

In a tactical co-feature, world-class submission specialist Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza captured the vacant STRIKEFORCE World Middleweight (185 pounds) Championship with a unanimous decision over American military hero Tim Kennedy.

In an all-action fight, Mo (7-1) was the aggressor in the first, scoring a body slam in the opening minute of the round. But, Feijao (10-2) was unfazed by the take down and got to his feet without suffering any significant damage.

After trading punches in the second, Feijao came out swinging in the third. He landed a few strong combinations and caught Mo with a powerful knee. Clearly wounded, Mo tried to take his opponent to the ground to minimize the damage but, while locked up standing, Feijao battered Mo with a series of brutal slashing elbows to Mo’s head, knocking him out at 1:14.

“I hit him hard with the right hand and the knee,” Feijao said. “I saw he was hurt, but I was just going to continue to hit him. I felt his grip loosening and knew that he was done.

“I have a new coach in boxing and Muay Thai that made the difference. “I just made my dream. I saw in his last fight he wanted to get inside. My strategy worked perfectly.”

A wounded Mo was disappointed but not dejected in his performance.

“I just got to make a few adjustments,” Mo said. “He fought a hell of a fight, but I’m not worried. I’ll come back stronger.”

Jacare (13-2-1) wasn’t able to get Kennedy to the ground, but his effective and relentless counterpunching was the difference maker in the fight.

A deep gash opened up over Kennedy’s left eye early in the third round. Kennedy (12-3) tried taking the fight to the mat, but it was ineffective against Jacare, who was the superior striker landing the harder, crisper punches.

Kennedy continued to attack Jacare throughout the fight, never giving up, but was unable to land anything that hurt his opponent.

“I felt through the fight that he felt my hand,” Jacare said. “I was landing some big punches and I thought I was winning the fight. I was ready to fight everywhere in the cage, but I was surprised how strong he was. He was strong, but I was the one connecting and landing the damaging punches.”

Kennedy, who landed more punches with a higher percentage, was a bit surprised in the unanimous decision loss.

“I was really frustrated with the end result,” Kennedy said. “Jacare is an amazing contender and now a champion. I was humbled that I was able to go five rounds with him, but I think it goes without saying that I’d like another five rounds with that guy. It’s going to be different.

“We’re talking about the most decorated grappler in the planet. I expected him to want to grapple. He countered with me the whole time and I was surprised. I should have put more pressure on him. The only time anyone got dropped in the fight was when I dropped him, but he’s got the belt.”

In a featured lightweight (155 pounds) bout, KJ Noons scored a second round KO (:19) over fearless brawler and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Jorge Gurgel in a short, but spectacular match.

The two exchanged powerful punches in the first, but a powerful and controversial blow from Noons a split second after the sound of the closing bell for the first round proved to be the difference. Noons (10-2) came out swinging in the second, landing an overhand right followed by a left hook that sent Gurgel (13-7) flying to the canvas. He followed it up with punches on the ground, but the fight was clearly over as Gurgel could not recover.

“By any means am I a dirty fighter, no,” Noons said. “I was just going in there to try to engage and get the round. I was in the heat of the moment and I couldn’t stop my hands as they were going. It wasn’t cheap and I’m not trying to be dirty – I’m just trying to finish the fight. I didn’t’ intentionally do it, it’s just the rush.

“I thought it was a great fight. He had a really good game plan. He was moving around the ring and was trying to get me to engage more. I just knew I had to not over commit on my punches and my kicks and I’d be able to keep standing. I’m not surprised he didn’t take me down.”

Gurgel didn’t make any excuses or complaints in losing.

“I apparently got hit a couple of times when the round was up, but it’s not KJ’s fault,” Gurgel said. The referee is responsible for separating the fighters. I’m not taking anything away from (KJ) He landed a good right hand and a left hook.

“I have no excuses whatsoever. I came up short in my performance and I’m really upset. I thought I had his number. I’ve never been rocked before. I’ve had 20 professional fights and I’ve never felt that. KJ is a world class fighter.”

In the opening fight of the SHOWTIME telecast, Chad Griggs won an upset, TKO victory over previously unbeaten Bobby Lashley at the end of the second round.

An experienced and talented wrestler, Lashley immediately took the fight to the ground in the first round. He expended a lot of energy trying to hit Griggs (9-1) while on the ground, but Griggs was able to counter and opened up a gushing cut over Lashley’s left eye.

Once again, Lashley (5-1) took the fight to the ground in the second, but his punches didn’t do enough damage to the more experienced Griggs. The cut worsened with Lashley apparently gassed in the closing moments of the second round and the referee called the bout immediately following the conclusion of the round.

“This is a dream come true fighting for STRIKEFORCE. I got offered a big fight right off the bat and I’m super pumped I got the win,” Griggs said. “I know he was bleeding all over me. I think he was tired and he was hurt already. I think it was a good call to end it.

“I felt him starting to fade a little bit at the end of the first round. I could hear him breathing really hard and could feel him using a lot of muscle to land punches. I was comfortable because he wasn’t really catching me and he was using a lot of energy. I don’t think that he’s really been hit before or been tested. I could see it in his eyes that the fight was changing. He was still hustling, but I think he was losing some heart in there.”

The event will replay on Monday, Aug. 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on SHO 2 and will be available On Demand from Tuesday, Aug. 24 until Monday, Sept. 6.

Complete STRIKEFORCE: Houston Results:

STRIKEFORCE World Light Heavyweight Championship

Rafael Feijao def. “King Mo” Lawal – KO (elbows) – Round 3 (1:14)

STRIKEFORCE World Middleweight Championship

Jacare Souza def. Tim Kennedy – Unanimous Decision – 49-46, 48-47 twice.

KJ Noons def. Jorge Gurgel – KO (strikes)– Round 2 (:19)

Chad Griggs def. Bobby Lashley – TKO – End of Round 2


Daniel Cormier def. Jason Riley – Submission (strikes) – Round 1 (1:02)

Andre Galvao – def. Jorge “Macaco” Patino – TKO (strikes) – Round 3 (2:45)

Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes – def. Rocky Long – Unanimous Decision – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.

Adam Schindler def. Kier Gooch – Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

Reynaldo “The Truth” Trujillo def. Jose Santibanez – TKO (Strikes)

Chad “Robo” Robichaux def. Humberto DeLeon – Split Decision – 29-28 (Robichaux), 29-28 (DeLeon), 29-28 (Robichaux)

Artenas Young def. Chad Cook, – Unanimous decision – 30-27, 298-28, 30-27

Strikeforce Houston Weigh-ins

“King Mo” Lawal, Rafael “Feijao” Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza, Tim Kennedy, Jorge Gurgel, K.J. Noons, Bobby Lashley, and Chad Griggs are set and ready for tomorrow night’s fights!

Courtesy of Strikeforce: Houston Weigh-ins

STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight World Championship
King Mo Lawal – 203 3/4 Pounds
Rafael Feijao – 203 1/2 Pounds

STRIKEFORCE Middleweight World Championship
Tim Kennedy – 185 Pounds
Jacare Souza – 184 3/4 Pounds

K.J. Noons – 156 1/4 Pounds
Jorge Gurgel – 154 3/4 Pounds

Bobby Lashley – 246 Pounds
Chad Griggs – 228 1/2 Pounds

Daniel Cormier – 249 Pounds
Jason Riley – 256 1/2 Pounds

Andre Galvao – 170 3/4 Pounds
Jorge “Macaco” Patino – 170 8/10 Pounds

Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes – 144 1/2 Pounds
Rocky Long – 146 1/4 Pounds

Adam Schindler – 155 1/2 Pounds
Kier Gooch – 155 1/4 Pounds

Jose Santibanez – 154 1/4 Pounds
Reynaldo “The Truth” Trujillo – 155 1/4 Pounds

Chad “Robo” Robichaux – 131 Pounds
Humberto DeLeon – 127 Pounds

Chad Cook – 205 Pounds
Artenas Young – 204 Pounds