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Jacob Cooper

A with BAMMA Middleweight Prospect Jorge Luis ;Michelan ; Bezerra

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Jacob Cooper
MMA Crypt Writer
September 9, 2013


Jorge Luis Bezerra is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the tutelage of Leo Vieira and with 16 of his 18 professional MMA victories coming by way of submission, it is no secret that his ground game is world class. He comes into his bout at BAMMA 13 with a 18-9 record, fighting in a title elimination bout against British unbeaten prospect Scott Askham. If Bezerra can get past Askham, a bout for the BAMMA Middleweight title will be in his imminent future. He has fought the likes of Erick Silva, Daniel Sarafian and Gustavo Machado in his career and has fought in several countries across the globe. With 8 years training in Mixed Martial Arts and over 14 years as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, he holds a significant experience edge coming into the bout with Askham. MMACrypt caught up with Bezerra ahead of his bout this Saturday at BAMMA 13.




JC: With 16 submission victories in your professional mixed martial arts career, it is no secret that the ground game is your strong point. Will you, as expected, be looking for the submission against Askham?


JLB: My main skill is in jiu-jitsu and most of my wins have ended because of this. The more I work out all of my skills, the more I am ready to face my opponent who has a very complete game; he has good boxing, kicks well, has some ground skills and I am going to fight as well as I can. I have trained well and stayed focused so I hope to have a good fight and hope no one gets hurt.




JC: In a recent interview, your opponent Scott Askham complimented your BJJ but stated that all fight start standing, hinting that he may be looking to stand and trade with you. Are you preparing for a stand-up war? Or will you do all you can to get the fight to the ground?


JLB: I always train to be able to handle all situations in a fight. I've trained in jiu-jitsu for many years, so BJJ is something that comes automatically in my game but I hope to take this fight in all areas as I'm training in all facets of MMA.




JC: Askham is 11-0 and won his first 8 professional bouts within three minutes, do you see any holes in his game that you hope to exploit?


JLB: Askham is very talented and he's undefeated; he has a complete game and knows how to fight. He also hits very hard! But I never do more strategy as I like to fight the fight as it comes and I've not won all my fights but I thank God that I have my 16 submission victories. I like to fight and I see no flaws in his game. Let's just fight and see who comes out on top.




JC: You've fought in Russia, Brazil and Jordan amongst others in the past, what complications do you find with traveling to different places for your fights? Many fighters have complained in the past about the time difference, jet lag etc. playing a role in their performances.


JLB: Yes I have been fighting in several other countries, I have no problems with time zone but what I feel is the most is the weight cut. I lose a lot of weight to fight and feel it on trips especially, the altitude in the body gains weight and it becomes very difficult to lose that gained weight during the flight.




JC: Do you prefer to fight back home in Brazil, or travel to other places?


JLB: Fighting in my country is wonderful because I have fans and people that cheer for me; the warmth of the crowd here is very good because of that. The difference to fight in another country is the crowed as they all want me dead *laughs*. The more I fight in other countries, the more I get along with it all, and I have a very good mentality about the crowd plus I really like to fight in other countries because I learn new things. I like Europe too, I think it is wonderful.



JC:
Do you like the feeling of fighting a hometown guy in their own backyard?


JLB: That is particularly bad, because everyone cheers against me and they all want my head *laughs*.




JC: On your Sherdog profile, it states that you also have a fight coming up on 28th September in Brazil. Is this true? And are you planning to fight more regularly now, after taking 8 months out?


JLB: Yes it's true, I will also fight on September 28. Here in Brazil there are so many events, plus most of them pay very bad so I went all of this time without fighting. I love fighting, I love to feel that adrenaline rush of fighting but more events unfortunately do not want to pay a fair wage.




JC: You've fought the likes of current Bellator fighter Vyacheslav Vasilevsky and UFC prospects Daniel Sarafian and Erick Silva, did you ever see that star potential in the aforementioned three?


JLB: Yes I have already fought with them, however unfortunately some of these fights I fought in poor conditions e.g. without training and I've often been injured. I learned not to want to be so tough, but I also learned to train more. Here in Brazil it is very difficult to follow a career in MMA - I have to workout and teach classes so at 4:30am I will teach, then after school I begin training then after training I'm back to teaching until 11pm. It is very difficult here in Brazil and several times it has hurt me. Now I train on the same team as Daniel Sarafian and we do tough workouts together, and he was so far one of the toughest opponents I've already fought. He has a great future in the UFC, he has a very good boxing which is far above the average in Brazil.




JC: Which fight was your toughest in your 27 fight professional career?


JLB: The hardest was against a Brazilian athlete named Fabricio "Pitbull" Monteiro. Though I beat the guy he was very strong and all the punches he landed hurt me and made me want to cry at times *laughs*. Also against Daniel Sarafian it was a very technical fight and he hit me with some hard shots, so these two fights were the most difficult thusfar.




JC: Is your dream to fight inside the Octagon like many others? Or do you prefer fighting around the world for smaller promotions?


JLB: Of course I want to enter the world's largest organisation, this is the dream of all the fighters in the world. I live more fully in God's will, God determines the time in my life, and my profession is in God's hands and he will determine with certainty when I will take bigger steps.





JC: What does your nickname 'Michelan' mean? And where did you acquire the name?


JLB: " Michelan" is a nickname from when I started training with Leo Vieira, he was a guy who loved to give his students nicknames. When I started training with Leozinho I was chubby, then they started to call me Michelan because of the character from the Michelin tire company. They said I looked like the Michelin man, so started to call me "Michelan".




JC: Can you tell us more about your deal with BAMMA? Is this a one-fight deal or will you be fighting for the organisation multiple times in the future?


JLB: I am very happy about being able to show my skills for this great show, which is in my opinion the third largest organisation in the world of MMA. This event is a great showcase of MMA for the world, and I'll get to show my true value and potential. Right now this is just one fight, but eventually we hope to negotiate for more fights.



JC: Thanks very much once again, and best of luck on Saturday!


JLB: Thank you! I wanted to leave a message for all, there is a path that leads you to happiness and that walk is called Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ loves you, the one problem that you think has no outlet, Jesus Christ is the output for your problem. You can believe in Christ because he is the way, the truth and the life!


I'd like to thank Jose Luis Bezerra for his answers, as well as Dan Richards of UI Management and MMACrypt's own Dirty Daley for organising this Q&A session.

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