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Archive for December, 2010

Scaled-Up ‘Skyscraper’ Ready to ‘Decapitate’ McCorkle

Posted by CherieCarlson On December - 10 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

By Chris Nelson

American fans know Stefan Struve as a talented up-and-comer in the UFC heavyweight division. According to the towering Dutchman, some members of his home country’s government have an entirely different view.

“They think kickboxing and MMA events are opportunities for criminals to get together and talk over stuff,” Struve says. “In Holland, they don’t see me as a sportsman, the government. They see me more as a criminal, if you look at it that way. That’s bulls-t.”

“In the Netherlands, you can open a coffee shop [hash bar] and you can have coke in your pocket and not be arrested, but MMA and kickboxing could get you arrested.”

It’s no exaggeration: Amsterdam police have reportedly already begun cracking down on fight events, and if politicians like Mayor Lodewijk Asscher have their ways, mixed martial arts, muay Thai and all combat sports except boxing may soon be outlawed in Holland’s capital city.

Luckily for Struve, training MMA in the Netherlands remains perfectly legal, and that’s precisely what the 6-foot-11-inch “Skyscraper” has been doing for the past 14 straight weeks. His focus: Sean McCorkle, whom he meets on the main card of Saturday’s UFC 124 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

“For training, we didn’t change a lot. We mostly did what we normally do,” says the student of “Dirty” Bob Schreiber. “I’ve been training a lot with K-1 strikers like [Jerome] Le Banner and [Hesdy] Gerges.”

One change Struve did make in preparation for the fight will show the day before, when the fighter hits the scale.

“I’ve changed some things in my diet and I went up to 255, and I feel really good,” says Struve, who’s weighed in between 240 and 248 pounds for each of his six previous UFC bouts.

Only 22 years old and already with five-plus years of pro MMA experience, Struve has gone 4-2 in those six Octagon fights, his only UFC losses coming to top-shelf heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Roy Nelson. Struve’s popularity seems to grow after each outing, as fans are drawn in not only by the fighter’s colossal frame, but also his reputation for exciting, often-bloody scraps.

A perfect example came at August’s UFC 117, in Struve’s most recent bout. After being thoroughly dominated and having his lower lip inflated by Christian Morecraft in the first round, Struve stormed back to knock out Morecraft in dramatic fashion just 22 seconds into the next frame. That win netted him the evening’s “Knockout of the Night,” putting Struve in a rare group with those who have won both that bonus and “Submission of the Night,” which he took home with a triangle-choking of Chase Gormley at UFC 104.

While Struve has dealt with a stylistically diverse range of opponents in his career, McCorkle has presented one unique challenge — moreso outside of the cage than in. A notorious trash talker and online provocateur, McCorkle lobbed insults at Struve via Twitter (“Stefan Struve pees sitting down,” read one of the tamer one-liners) and was somewhat successful in baiting his foe into a war of words. Struve has played along, albeit seemingly reluctantly, outsourcing a Photoshop contest for fans to deface McCorkle’s picture.

Mostly, Struve just seems unfazed, both by the Internet antics and his lesser-known opponent’s credentials.

“When I saw that [Mark] Hunt was fighting him in his first fight, I went and looked him up and immediately said, ‘I’m not impressed with this guy,’ His record’s good, 10-and-0, but if you look at the guys he’s fought, he hasn’t fought anybody. You can get to 14, 15-and-0 fighting those guys, but it doesn’t mean anything to me,” says Struve. “Before I got to the UFC, in my opinion, I was fighting the best heavyweights in Europe.”

Saturday night, both men will have the chance to back up their chatter. No need to ask Struve for a prediction on what will happen — the rules of his Photoshop contest say it all.

“Send me your best Photoshop of big b-tch McCorkle! Winner will get my UFC gloves I use to decapitate him!”

Stefan Struve: I hope McCorkle has trained hard

Posted by CherieCarlson On December - 10 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

At UFC 124, two of the tallest and biggest heavyweight fighters will clash in the Octagon amidst the clamour of bad blood and rivalry that has seemed to pervade this most recent fight card provided by Joe Silva.

It is fair to say that Sean McCorkle, an infamous character on the Underground forum, has got under Stefan Struve’s skin, and the Dutchman is not impressed.

Standing at 6′11″ and weighting in at around 250lbs, the 22-year old fighter is not a man many people would think about trying to rile up. However, McCorkle, a fighter who had to cut a huge amount to make the heavyweight division limit and who measures 6′7″, is clearly not afraid of causing a little drama pre-fight.

But, for all McCorkle’s jibes and jokes, Struve has clearly taken a dislike to his American opponent. To say he is eager to get the fight going would be an understatement.

“I don’t like what he said about me. If that is what he needs to do to get himself ready to fight then good for him. Maybe he just likes to talk like that about his opponents. I will make my statement in the cage when I beat him,” says Stefan.

“He hasn’t faced the kind of opposition I have or been in the kind of fights I have. I know that I am a better fighter than McCorkle. He beat Hunt but that guy is a kickboxer. This is MMA.

“I am going to go out there and hurt him on his feet. I want another bonus win so once he is rocked I will search for the knock out or the submission.”

Training with the legendary Bob Schrieber, Struve has been working his striking game with Jerome Banner and has been clearly enjoying and learning from the experience.

“Bob has been a huge part of my career. I trust him and his wife and they are the best people for me to have in my corner. Bob is a great fighter and I have learnt a lot from him. Getting to train with Jerome has been really good as well.”

Boasting an impressive 20-4 record, Struve has shown that he is dangerous on the feet and on the ground. Having fought in the UFC six times as well as earning both a submission win bonus and a knock out bonus, the Dutch fighter wants nothing more than to put an end to McCorkle’s undefeated streak.

“I am always hyped up to fight but it is even better to be on the main card and to know it will get televised. There aren’t many Dutch fighters in the UFC and I want to make my country proud and keep doing well.

“I just hope McCorkle has trained hard for this fight. I hope he brings the best he has got because I am determined to give the fans a great match. I am ready for war.”

UFC 124: Stefan Struve Says He Had Food Poisoning Before Fighting Roy Nelson

Posted by CherieCarlson On December - 10 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (20-4) hails from the Netherlands and stands an enormous 6’11” and is currently the tallest fighter on the UFC roster.

At only 22 years old, Struve has put himself on the map as one of the UFC’s brightest heavyweight prospects with wins over Paul Buentello, Denis Stojnic and Chase Gormley.

This Saturday night, Struve will try to take another step up the heavyweight ranks when he meets Sean McCorkle in the co-main event for UFC 124.

With UFC 124 just days away, Struve spoke about his upcoming fight with McCorkle, and had some harsh words for Team Golden Glory, and spoke about having food poisoning prior to his Ultimate Fight Night 21 bout with Roy Nelson.

At just 22 years old, you’re 6’11”, what is in the water in the Netherlands that makes you get so big?

“I basically eat everything I see.”

I was wondering there isn’t a lot of info on where you train at and who your coaches are. I was wondering other than Bob Schrijber (who’s a big name in Europe), who all do you train with?

“Ah Bob Schrijber, he’s a legend of the sport, he’s fought over 137 fights and he’s a great coach, he’s got a lot of experience, and I still learn from him every day. We’ve got a couple of really good guys who are coming up that are waiting to make it to the big show in the next couple of years.”
“I train on a regular basis with the K-1 gyms like Chakuriki and the K-1 heavyweights so there are plenty of people to spar with in Holland. Sometimes I even spar with Gegard Mousasi, so plenty of people for me.”

Kickboxing seems to be big around the Netherlands, did you ever think of fighting for K-1?

“Yeah, kickboxing is really big in Holland, but I’m a better MMA fighter so I’ll just stick to MMA.”

How does it feel to be a part of the co-main event of the last UFC event of 2010?

“I’m not sure, it’s going to be co-main event, I hear different things. For me, that’s huge, it’s going to be a really big fight for me and I’m going to end 2010 the way I want it to be with a big bang.”

Also, with the success over the years the Golden Glory gym has had in Holland, I was wondering if you had ever thought of training there?

“Golden Glory isn’t really a team, they train together sometimes, but they’re more of a management team. I’ve got enough sparring partners, so I got no intention of going there too.”

For a big man, you’re more known for your brawling style instead of using your reach more and keeping your opponents on the outside. Why is this?

“I just like to fight, I don’t like to use my jab for three, five minute rounds. When I watch my fight back, I want to be proud of my fight. I just like to fight, I always want to be in an exciting fight, no boring fights for me.”

Coming from a kickboxing background you have 14 career submission wins. Who do you credit for having such a dangerous ground game?

“I’ve just been training in our own gym. We’ve got a group of guys who I’ve been training with since I was 14. I’ve been rolling around with big guys of 240 pounds since I was 14 years old and 185 pounds. So I learned how to manage myself with those guys, and basically I learned of everything I know from my own trainer”

What do you make of McCorkle’s trash talk?

“Not much, I don’t pay much attention to it. I don’t like him. “

There were some words from you on McCorkle before the fight; did McCorkle get under your skin at all?

“No, like I said I’m not paying to much attention to it. He got me kind of focused on my fight. In my training when I was tired, he kept me focused, it was good motivation for me.”

Did you see McCorkle’s last fight against Mark Hunt? And if so what was your impression?

“Yeah I saw it, it was a nice armbar. If a guy loses his last six fights and I believe his last three fights was by kimura, and you lose by kimura that pretty much says everything.”

In your last fight you had to go through a bit of adversity, but you won KO of the night honors against Christian Morecraft. What are your thoughts on that fight?

“It was a hard first round for me because a big part of that, I didn’t feel good. One part in the locker room, I threw up and I felt dizzy. The first few minutes of the fight went really good, but the last few minutes of the first round he beat me up because I had no energy left. I had no real energy left to do anything.

“Me and my trainer decided to go with everything I got into the second round and see where I would end up and I knocked him out.”

Did you feel you were unprepared for that fight?

“No, no, I felt my preparation was really good I think it’s the nerves that got to me in the locker room. I lost a lot of energy because of that.”

Do you feel any nerves for this fight?

“No, not really, a big part of that was the fight with Roy Nelson, the fight before the fight with Morecraft, I had food poisoning the day of the fight. I was afraid of something like that would happen again and it got to my nerves I think.”

How long were you sick with food poisoning?

“I was sick an hour to an hour and a half before the fight, and after fifteen minutes I felt better. I took a shake with protein, with carbs, and everything I needed to get some energy back, but of course it isn’t perfect. You know it happened, I learned from it, it was a good experience. I learned from it, for the future.”

What were you eating that lead to that?

“I eat lots of proteins, lots of vegetables, no weird things. For the fight with Nelson, we ate at a Thai place and we ate there all week. We had chicken and stuff like that, and the day of the fight the food wasn’t good. These things happen, you know.”

I’m glad you’re better now.

“Let’s hope I don’t encounter food poisoning the day before the fight.”

Do you have anything you’d like to say in closing?

“I just want to thank my sponsors, my fans, my friends, my family, and my trainers and management team for helping me prepare for this fight for the fans in Montreal for one hell of an exciting fight.”

Exclusive: Struve Checks In Before UFC 124 Grudge Match With McCorkle

Posted by CherieCarlson On December - 10 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

by Duane Finley

When MMA aficionados look back on 2010 it’s quite possible it will be remembered as the year of the grudge match. While rivalries have always held a place in combat sports, this year had a personal vendetta waiting around every corner.

Some of the clashes were epic battles that exceeded the pre-fight circus where others fell drastically short. With that being said the card for UFC 124 in Montreal Quebec Canada is a fitting end to the year of the beef.

The card’s main event will feature a rematch for the welterweight title between the UFC’s golden hero Georges St. Pierre as he takes on the villainous heel in Josh Kocheck. Normally the negative energy surrounding Koscheck would be enough to fill the headlines but the card’s co-main event matchup between the 6′11 Stefan Struve and self-proclaimed internet warrior Sean McCorkle has carried its share of the drama wagon. The two heavyweights have been locked in a humorous exchange of pre-fight warfare where the back and forth has played out on instant media formats across the MMA community. Despite McCorkle’s reputation for being internet savvy the normally quiet Struve has held his own in McCorkle’s realm of online battle. With their fight now just around the corner, I checked in with Struve to discuss his added motivation to face McCorkle and in this Bloody Elbow Exclusive: he wasted zero time addressing their ongoing beef.

“From the moment we signed our contracts…the fight wasn’t even announced yet, he decided to go on Twitter and Facebook to trash me,” Struve exclaimed. “At first I wondered what it was and didn’t really know what to do with it. I wasn’t going to respond to him because I normally stick to my training and keep a low profile and nothing else. I got the idea to do a photoshop contest on the underground and people seem to love it because it got thousands of views and received thousands of replies. So it’s turned out awesome and the winner of the contest will get my fight gloves after I knock him out.”

In his six previous bouts under the UFC banner Struve has avoided the pre-fight hoopla to focus on the task ahead. With McCorkle refusing to let up off the gas Struve has used the repeated attacks as inspiration to train harder in the gym.

“It has been great motivation,” Struve stated. “When we were training all my coach would have to do is say something about him and I would be going again. It definitely renewed my energy and kept me focused.”

The 23 year old Dutch fighter has shown skills in all aspects of the game as he’s claimed both submission and knockout victories inside of the octagon. Despite Struve’s promise to knockout McCorkle in Montreal I asked him to break down where he felt he would hold the biggest advantage once the action got under way.

“I believe I am the better fighter both on the feet and on the ground,” Struve answered. “I’m going to hurt him when we are on our feet and look for the knockout. If the fight goes to the ground then I am going to finish him with a submission.”
A win over McCorkle at UFC 124 would make back to back victories for Struve in a division that continues to take shape. With Cain Velasquez dethroning pay per view monster Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson battling their respective issues the time is right for a fighter on the rise to climb the ladder.

“I don’t know for sure,” Struve replied when asked where he felt a victory would place him in the divisional rankings. “I look at my career from fight to fight and all I want to do is keep on winning and working my way up. I’m in no rush to get a title shot so we’ll look at it one fight at a time and see where that puts me. There are some really good heavyweights in the division right now,” Struve continued. “Cain and Dos Santos are fighting for the belt the next time around and they are two of the best in the weight class. Other than that you have Brock, Carwin, Roy Nelson and a ton of guys coming up so the division has never been better.”

Of the names Struve mentioned, Junior Dos Santos and Roy Nelson both hold knockout victories over the young Dutch fighter. While Struve has stated he only focuses his career one fight at a time I inquired to see if redemption against Dos Santos and Nelson was something he would seek further down the road.

“I would love to rematch those guys,” Struve replied. “I have plenty of time though and there is no rush. I have plenty of career ahead of me. I think I am a part of the next wave of MMA. I believe I have all of the tools to become a contender in the future and I just need to add a lot of strength to my game. Of course I can get better on the ground and on my feet and then I will be a real contender for the title.”

In his last outing against Christian Morecraft, Struve was battered with an aggressive attack and the damage resulted in a gruesome split lip that he carried back to his corner between rounds. There was some debate whether or not the fight should continue and Struve knew he would have to make the most of the time he had left and in the process of doing so put his heart and determination on display.

“The first round wasn’t very good and he beat me up pretty bad,” Struve stated. “I wasn’t feeling well before the fight so that is played a big part in why the first round did not go that well. When I came out for the second round I agreed with my trainer that I would give it everything I had on my feet for the first minute and we would see how the fight would go after that. I caught him with a big combination and I finished the fight. It was a test and I always welcome a challenge so it was all very good in the end.”

A co-headlining slot on what should be one of the biggest cards of the year and a newly inked contract extension are signs the UFC sees a future for Struve. When a high profile internet beef is sprinkled on top it creates an opportunity for Struve to boost his status in the most successful organization in mixed martial arts. Things can change in an instant in MMA and Struve closed the interview by thanking those who support him in addition to sending a message to the fans who will be tuning in for UFC 124 this Saturday.

“I just want to thank my fans, family, sponsors and my management team and trainers for helping me prepare for this fight. For the fans in Montreal I’m coming in really good shape so I’m ready to give my all. I always give everything I have and I will give my all next week. I will definitely give you guys one hell of an exciting fight.”

Cristiano Marcello Victorious At Dessert Fighting Championship In Jordan

Posted by CherieCarlson On December - 9 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS
Always looking for a great challenge, Cristiano Marcello (11-3) was victorious at the Dessert Fighting Championship in Jordan with a second round submission on December 8th.  Following in the footsteps of such legends as Wanderlei Silva and the Gracie Family, Cristiano is prepared to fight whenever the challenge presents itself.  This was Cristiano’s second submission victory in MMA in less than 5 days in 2 different continents!!
The leader of CM Systems is looking to make a big splash and challenge the best fighters in North America.  Now he is 2 fights closer to that goal.
Congratulations to Alchemist fighter, Cristiano Marcello for putting it all on the line.”

Stefan “SKYSCRAPER” Struve UFC 124 promo video

Posted by lex On December - 8 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Trash talk a onetime experiment for UFC 124 co-headliner Stefan Struve

Posted by lex On December - 6 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

by Steven Marrocco from MMAjunkie.com

There are hundreds of thousands of page views to back the buzz surrounding Stefan Struve and Sean McCorkle’s upcoming fight.

The heavyweights have propped up UFC 124’s co-main event by hitting the message boards to snipe at each other.

At 22 years old, Struve would seem a prime candidate for a war of keystrokes. And yes, he’s had fun logging in and firing back at the noted keyboard warrior. But in the long run, he’d rather play Anderson Silva to McCorkle’s Chael Sonnen.

“I’m not that kind of guy to do that,” Struve told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I just like to train and keep a low profile.”

UFC 124 takes place Dec. 11 at the Bell Center in Montreal and features a rematch between current UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and top contender Josh Koscheck.

The spat between Struve (20-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and McCorkle (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has been an entertaining sidebar to a welterweight title match that’s drawn the bulk of headlines. It’s gotten fans talking about a fight that doesn’t carry title implications. It’s gotten them extra attention and a few more interview requests.

You’d think Struve would welcome that. More eyeballs are good for your brand; they entice sponsors, and they sell merchandise. It helps the promotional machine along.

Plus, trash talk motivates. It’s easier to fight a guy you don’t like. There’s nothing better than running a nasty phrase through your head to propel that last five minutes of sparring. But Struve’s reasoning is much simpler.

McCorkle started it.

“Because he was talking all this [expletive], I was like, ‘We can do something with it,’” he said. “But not too much because I don’t want it to distract from training.”

Struve said his life is plenty full without Internet trolling. He trains up to three times a day and does his best to eat clean and get as much recovery time as possible. He’s trying to mirror a champion’s lifestyle. Other stuff gets in the way.

“I’m really focused, and I don’t want to get less focused because I have to put stuff on the Internet,” he said. “I don’t want to put my energy into that. All my energy goes into training.”

McCorkle, on the other hand, appears to mirror Sonnen’s outlook on a fighter’s lifestyle. Namely, that fighters have plenty of time to do other things besides fighting. In this case, it’s the time to wage an Internet jihad. (A future in politics seems unlikely for the Indianapolis resident.)

“He’s doing it to get some attention,” Struve said. “In my opinion, he’s only in the UFC because he got attention for himself on the Internet. His fights weren’t that impressive in my opinion.”

Struve isn’t buying the idea that stirring the pot will get him ahead.

“I don’t think I can advance my career much by talking trash,” he said. “I think I can advance my career by improving my skill set and being a better fighter.

“I’m 22, so I’ve got a lot of improvement to do – getting bigger, getting stronger and (improving) my ground game and standup. That’s the way you become a champion – not by trash talking.”

At best, the winner will take another step up the heavyweight ladder and put a new notch on the old career belt. But this is the last time Struve takes up a keyboard in anger – at least for now.

“I show respect for my opponents,” he said. “I show respect for everybody who’s in this business. So he didn’t really have a reason to go that way. But whatever works for him, he can do that. I’m fine.”

Exclusive: Former Chute Boxe Coach Cristiano Marcello Talks Wanderlei, Jiu-Jitsu and Unfinished Business With Krazy Horse Bennett

Posted by lex On December - 6 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The decision to leave one of the most successful camps in MMA history could not have been an easy for Cristiano Marcello but it was the only way for him to truly pursue his ambitions as a fighter. After training MMA legends likeWanderlei Silva and UFC champions such as Maurico “Shogun” Rua, Marcello left Chute Boxe in 2009 to forge ahead and turn his fighting career into his primary focus. Marcello may be best known for the backstage altercation with Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett that would become an internet sensation following Pride Shockwave 2005.

A 12 year veteran of the sport Marcello has competed in Pride and multiple promotions throughout his native home of Brazil. After parting ways with Chute Boxe the Royler Gracie blackbelt opened his own gym to further develop his personal brand of Jiu-Jitsu he calls the CM System. In his most recent professional outing Marcello faced Costa Rican lightweight Alejandro Solano Rodriguez at Bitetti Combat 7 in Rio de Janero Brazil. The bout ended in a questionable stoppage victory for Solano but Marcello would not have to wait long for redemption as an immediate rematch was then scheduled for Saturday Dec. 4th. Unfortunately for Marcello, Solano Rodriguez was forced to withdraw just days before the event. Cristiano will now face Muay Thai expert Guido Caneti and with the fight looming around the corner I spoke to Marcello about his upcoming challenge. In this Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview Marcello talks about the last minute change of opponents and provides a solution to the unfinished business between him and “Krazy Horse”.

With this being my first interview with Cristiano Marcello I wanted to know where he found his passion for the martial arts and what inspired him to dedicate his life to Jiu-Jitsu.

“I started in Taekwondo when I was eight years old and I have competed several times with state and national champions,” Marcello answered. “At 12 years old I started training jiu-jitsu in my neighborhood and two years later joined the Gracie academy. I went on to win two world titles, and several state and national titles. From there, I moved to the United States as a purple belt, and lived with Rickson Gracie for three years. Under Rickson’s guidance, I was awarded a brown belt and returned to Brazil to debut in MMA. In 1999, I earned my black belt under Master Royler Gracie.”

Marcello spent years training fighters at Chute Boxe who have gone on to become MMA legends and champions. He has seen fighters grow into icons of the sport and with Chute Boxe fighters being known primarily for their aggressive striking, their superb jiu-jitsu skills are often times overlooked.

“I believe that my jiu-jitsu style for MMA is special because of all of the experience that I had with the best trained strikers in the world. I was fortunate to work with guys like Shogun, Wanderlei, Ninja, and a number of other talented fighters,” Marcello stated. “They are winning fights because the base of the sport is the most important and is what takes you from “beginning to end. They are no longer training with me directly or indirectly, but they still represent my style of Jiu-jitsu, which is technical jiu-jitsu and staying aggressive, while always looking for the submission. What is most important for me is knowing that they are not being finished on the ground. I believe that some of my new athletes will effectively show the fans the unique techniques that I have taught them.”

While Marcello technically parted ways with Chute Boxe in 2009 he is still considered to be their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach and still offers the fighters assistance when possible. Now that his primary focus is in live competition his time is limited to fighting and further developing his own brand of BJJ he calls CM System.

“I left Chute Boxe because of my professional growth - I felt the need to form my own team with my methodology and ideology. The CM SYSTEM is defined to form complete athletes with great technique and aggressiveness. We have over 40 professional athletes in MMA. In just one year and five months of existence, the academy has more than 140 professional MMA fights and more than 90% are victories. We won the award highlighting the best academy in 2009. We have 12 more fights ahead of us to close out 2010. 5 belts already conquered and 2 international,” explained Marcello.

With redemption in sight Marcello was eager to prepare for his rematch with Alejandro Solano Rodriguez but moment prior to the interview taking place Marcello learned that his rematch had been put on hold due to Solano pulling out of the fight. He was then told he would be facing Guido Caneti just as the interview got under way. Feeling the Solano situation had only created more unfinished business I asked for his opinion on the matters at hand.


“Unfortunately, in that fight with Solano there was controversy,” Marcello answered. “The referee gave him a doubtful victory. They stopped the fight early, and the promoter offered us a rematch due to the controversy.”

With frustration Marcello continued, “I would love to have a rematch with Solano, but he dropped out of the fight last minute. My feeling is he did not want a rematch. Now I will be fighting Guido Caneti of Argentina. He is a No. 1-ranked Muay Thai fighter in his country.

While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is woven into the foundation of mixed martial arts its practitioners have gone through highs and lows as the sport continues to evolve. The defensive guard became regular practice for every fighter just as single discipline warriors fade into the vapor. I asked Marcello to comment on ways he has seen BJJ evolve as a martial art over the years and if the submission game was still the tremendous threat it once was.

“Although many people do not believe in its importance, I see an extreme importance in the use of the gi (kimono) in training for MMA as it is the soul of BJJ,” Marcello answered. “Many fighters today have migrated straight to MMA, not training in the gi, for me it is not BJJ. Many fighters are not following the evolution of BJJ. Because the gi is the soul of jiu-jitsu, I believe 100% that it is a secret weapon because jiu-jitsu evolves every second during training. Whoever has the highest level of BJJ has a unique weapon in MMA.”

A popular debate amongst MMA fans and critics is the efficiency of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when put up against elite level American wrestling. Marcello shared his insight on the dispute and explained how the CM System is the perfect adjustment for such an approach.

“When there were no weight classes wrestling complicated things a little because if there was a difference of 60 lbs. on the ground they know to stay on top,” Marchello stated. “Even still, I do not see any development of wrestling. The fighter on the bottom is lost…there are no escapes or attempted submissions. I do not see this as a response to jiu-jitsu. If we look at MMA events and look at submissions we see that 90% of the wrestlers are using submissions from MMA. I think everybody has their opinion, and has the right to believe in their own philosophies. The CM SYSTEM does not believe that wrestling is the answer, but wrestling is also crucial for MMA.”

Marcello’s work at Chute Boxe is well documented as he has played an intricate role in the development of some of Brazil’s best fighters. As his focus has now turned to his own professional career I was curious to hear about his personal goals and what he hoped to accomplish in the sport of mixed martial arts.

“As a coach I always wanted my fighters to succeed. I had to give up a little as a fighter to train fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Mauricio Shogun, Cris Santos and all other Chute Boxe fighters for a number of years. I still managed to do 13 fights of which I won 10. I still want to compete in the biggest events and take on the best athletes in the sport. I still wish to compete in the biggest events of America today as a fighter and to open that door to my athletes at CM SYSTEM,” he answered.

Several years back Cristiano Marcello was involved in a backstage altercation with Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett where the outcome resulted in possibly the most famous street fight ending triangle choke the world has ever seen. In fact that video is considered by some to be proof that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is applicable in altercations outside of the cage. In addition to the video gathering millions of hits, Charles Bennett has spoken out from time to time on Marcello keeping the beef and his notoriety alive.

“I don’t use that fight for personal marketing since in my career, as a coach and fighter, I’m very professional in my success,” Marcello stated. “My attitude was to try to educate Krazy Horse, and show that he should respect everyone. I am a firm advocate for all the elements of MMA, and am a firm believer that every relevant style makes an important contribution to fighting. I have always had an open mind to fighting, and that is why I was one of the first BJJ fighters to teach at Chute Boxe. In that particular fight which was more like a street fight, BJJ was the best form of self-defense. As for Krazy Horse’s trash talk, I am more than happy to fight him again but this time in a cage with a purse at stake. All questions can be laid to rest with a proper sanctioned fight.”

Cristiano Marcello will step into competition on Saturday night against an opponent he hasn’t prepared. Most fighters would have to hope that their game plan would still be effective but Marcello’s style of jiu-jitsu will allow him to adapt to whatever the situation may be. With the interview coming to a close Cristiano thanked everyone who has supported and continues to support him.

“I would first like to thank you guys for the opportunity to express myself and to show my work. Thank you to my agency- ALCHEMIST for their support and showing credibility in my work. And thank you to all the MMA fans that make this sport the fastest growing in the world. For those who want to learn more about our work at CMSYSTEM we have Facebook and a website: www.cmsystem.com.br. “

Cristiano Marcello Talks Teaching The Likes Of Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua

Posted by lex On December - 6 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

A lot of you may not know who exactly Cristiano Marcello is, but when you find out who this Brazilian fighter has taught over the years, you might just want to take note.

Cristiano is a mixed martial artist getting ready to take the next step, but first and foremost, he is a teacher. Cristiano has been teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a long time, starting out by teaching the little tykes with the Gracie Academy as a teenager, moving on to training high level mixed martial artists at the Chute Boxe Academy and finally to owning and operating his own school The CM System.

Marcello is scheduled to fight this comming Saturday at Bitetti Combat MMA 8 in Sao Paulo, Brazil against Guido Canetti. The card will also feature former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Thiago.

Marcello was n

ice enough to take some time out of his busy training and teaching schedule to answer a few questions for Bleacher Report. So without further delay lets have a look at what Marcello had to tell us.

Hi Cristiano, this is Leon Horne from Bleacher Report. How are you doing today and how has training camp been going?

Everything is 100% for me and my team!  Workouts now are in the final stages leading up to my fight and I’m feeling ready for my next challenge.

I had a chance to look over the website for your school CM System and it looks like you have managed to do quite a lot since the opening of the school in 2009. Your team has managed to win 57 of 63 fights since the schools inception. To what do you attribute your young school’s success?

Today at one year and five months, we already have over 140 professional MMA fights with more than 90% of them as victories!  As a team we still have 12 more fights before the end of this year.  I believe that this success is due to my experience with the teams I have worked with, where I learned from mistakes and successes.  The team also has athletes with great potential and qualified coaches.

Cristiano, it seems as if teaching is in your blood, you have trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to big names in the sport of mixed martial arts including the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Maurilo Rua and Cris Santos. How did you end up getting so involved in teaching and when did you know that it was the right career path for you?

In fact I started teaching at the age of 16.  I was teaching children in the Gracie Academy and afterward I continued to give lessons to sustain my workouts because my parents never banned me, but also did not give me support until they saw my potential in the sport. I’ve always liked martial arts and have not wanted to do anything else.  I am in this for life (laughing).You were previously associated with the notorious Chute Box academy and are still considered their lead Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. What made you leave Chute Box to start your own camp?

It was certainly a privilege for me, and a great learning experience to have been part of the history of Chute Boxe. I believe I made valuable contributions to the legacy that Chute Boxe now has.  What made me leave was the need to have my own business with my unique signature. I am able to do it my way with my technical team.

I have read that your system of teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu translates very well to the sport of mixed martial arts. What is it that you find you integrate into your teachings of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that makes it translate so well to mixed martial arts?

I believe that by having trained and taught in Chute Boxe’s golden era, it made me improve and simplify the way I teach jiu-jitsu for MMA.  My BJJ adapted to MMA, which translates into technique and aggressiveness.  Many technicians struggle with this because they never entered a ring or a cage and do not know how to do adapt.

Teaching aside, you also fight professionally and have an upcoming fight on December 4th in Sao Paulo, Brazil which is being promoted by Bitetti Combat. You have not been the most active professional mixed martial artist, averaging around one fight per year, is there a reason for that? Is professional fighting secondary to you teaching and your school?

I have 13 fights and 10 victories in my career as an MMA fighter.  Why not make as many matches in a row now because in the past I did not have time.  I devoted myself to training technical fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Shogun, Cris Santos, Anderson Silva, among others.  Now being leader of my own team, I can devote more to my career as a fighter. This year I’m going for my third fight with a forecast of one more before the end of the year.

Despite only averaging one fight per year, you will have fought three times in 2010, which is on par with the most active fighters in the sport. Are you looking to be more active in mixed martial arts? Could three professional fights a year become a regular thing for Cristiano Marcello?

I have more time to devote myself to my career as a fighter now that I run my own gym.  Certainly my goal for 2011 will be signing with a major promotion and to have several fights during the year.

Alchemist Management, owned by rapper MC Hammer is a management company for mixed martial arts fighters. The company has signed a lot of talent in recent months, Nate Marquardt and Brendan Schaub are two names that come to mind, but I see here that you have signed with Alchemist management as well. What was the reason behind signing up with Alchemist? Is it a sign of what is to come in terms of your career as a professional fighter? Have you met MC Hammer? If so what do you have to say about him and what does he bring to mixed martial arts?

It is an honor to have signed with Alchemist because I believe that they are capable and very professional in everything surrounding MMA. I learned of Alchemist through an old friend of mine, Nima Safapour, from the time I lived in Los Angeles with Master Rickson Gracie.  Nima is one of the founding members and key executives at the agency. We always had a mutual respect for each other’s careers, and the timing was right for this partnership.  I have not had the opportunity to see MC Hammer, but I know his history. I believe his involvement with MMA is of great value to the sport, as a person with a big name outside of the sport.  He will bring a lot of visibility and new opportunities for everyone involved with MMA.

The UFC recently declared a merger between the UFC and the rest of the WEC divisions, which included the lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight divisions. How do you feel about all the divisions fighting under the UFC banner? Do you think it ultimately benefits the sport, the fans and the fighters?

CRISTIANO: I think so, because the UFC brand is recognized worldwide today. Now all the athletes who have migrated or will migrate to the UFC will benefit because they will have visibility from the UFC brand.

This December 4th you are fighting Alejandro Mandarina Solano Rodriguez for the second time in a row. The first time you fought Rodriguez you lost via technical knockout in the second round. What are you doing differently to change the outcome of this rematch? How do you expect this rematch with Rodriguez to go this time?

First thing I would change would be the referee. That really helped him in time to stop the struggle early.  Unfortunately, Solano refused the rematch within a week of this fight.  I will now face the number one ranked athlete in Argentina, Guido Caneti, a very tough muay-Thai athlete.  In relation to my training, I am an athlete who always trains a lot and I rely heavily on my ground game.

I’d like to thank you for your time away from training and teaching to answer these questions, muito obrigado. I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming fight with Caneti and the continued success with your school. Before we finish, do you have any last comments for your fans or other statements that you wish to make?

CRISTIANO: I would first like to thank you for the opportunity to do this interview and for showing my work.  Thank you to my agency- ALCHEMIST for their support and credibility in my work. And thank you to all the MMA fans that make this sport the fastest growing in the world.  For those who want to learn more about our work at CMSYSTEM, we have Facebook - and a website: www.cmsystem.com.br

At 31 years old, Marcello is looking to finally move himself up the ladder after a busy career teaching others to kick butt in the octagon. With his wealth of experience and his list of successful disciples, a few wins back to back and we might see Marcello get a shot at the big show.

Cristiano Marcello Talks Upcoming Bout, Famous Backstage Brawl and More

Posted by lex On December - 6 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

As seen on MMAfighting.com

If the name Cristiano Marcello rings a bell for MMA fans, it’s most likely because they know him as the former Chute Boxe coach who famously fought Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett in a surprisingly technical backstage brawl at a Pride event in 2005.


But in addition to his work as a trainer at Chute Boxe and now at his own gym, CM System, Marcello has also revitalized his own fighting career in 2010, and on Saturday he takes on Guido Canetti at Bitetti Combat 8 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Below, Marcello talks with us via e-mail about his upcoming fight, the scrap that spawned his internet fame and his favorite memories from the Chute Boxe days.

Ben Fowlkes: It’s been a little while since your last fight. Tell us about your next opponent, what you know of him, and what you’ve done specifically to prepare for him.

Cristiano Marcello: I’ll fight with an athlete ranked No. 1 in Argentina - Guido Caneti, a very tough Muay Thai fighter. In relation to my training, no changes - I am an athlete who trains a lot and I rely on my ground game.

Many people know you for your backstage fight with “Krazy Horse” Bennett at Pride. Can you tell us a little about how that got started and what you remember about it now?

This occurred due to lack of education of the athlete Krazy Horse … because I was on the corner of Ken Kaneco, a Japanese athlete who fought against Krazy Horse and he won. So soon after the fight I challenged him to a fight. His team was in the same locker room as ours (Chute Boxe) and he was very unhappy and started to talk trash. What happened after that you guys saw in the video posted on YouTube.

The thing that seemed strange about your fight with Krazy Horse was how everyone in the locker room seemed to treat it as if it was a sanctioned, normal MMA fight, shouting instructions and breaking it up once he was out. Did that surprise you? Are backstage fights at events more common in Brazil, or did it seem just as bizarre to you when it was happening?

Here in Brazil we are very respectful, and we have a very strong code of honor. He could be alone in the locker room that night and nothing would have occurred. To be honest, I do not think disputes should be resolved this way. But the acts of his education and aggression led to this situation. In relation to the corners in the fight, it was a normal situation of clean fight.

You coached a lot of Chute Boxe fighters in the gym’s heyday. Who was the best fighter you ever worked with at Chute Boxe?

I participated in Chute Boxe for eight years as a technical fighter and in jiu-jitsu. I was able to graduate with black belt greats like Wanderlei Silva, Rafael Cordeiro, Mauricio Shogun, Murilo Ninja and many others. I also had the opportunity to improve my jiu-jitsu for strikers. I believe that the best fighters that I worked with there were Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Cris Santos and Mauricio Shogun.

We hear a lot of great stories about the old days at Chute Boxe and some of the brutal fights that happened inside the gym. What’s your favorite story from your Chute Boxe days?

There were many great stories, I remember one time I fought a fighter who was a former member of Chute Boxe. He was a big fighter that weighed about 220 lbs. He was three weight categories above my own. At the time, Rafael Cordeiro was one of the leading coaches at Chute Boxe, and he negotiated a closed door fight between us. Rafael Cordeiro, Roberto Piccinini, Nadim Andraus and Jorge Patino (“Macaco”), and I were in one car; and in the other car was the former member of Chute Boxe, his current teacher of jiu-jitsu and a few cronies. We went to a park called Barigui in a remote part of town, the cars stopped and the match took place there. We had an honest and clean fight, just he and I. After 3 ½ minutes, my opponent was sleeping from a choke and I won that fight. That was a memorable experience because I fought for the respect of my team.

What are you hoping to accomplish in your career as an MMA fighter? Do you feel like you need to become a champion in a major organization, or are you happy just getting a chance to fight and get paid for it?

I have fought the in the biggest events outside the U.S., and have already had the opportunity to fight in America in the past. I know I have the skills to contend in major events against the best opponents. I would like to continue competing with the major events and the best athletes.

What made you get into MMA and jiu-jitsu to begin with?

I originally started training in jiu-jtsu as a means of self-defense, because I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. When I saw Rickson and Royler Gracie fight in MMA, I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps. In 1998, in Mato Grosso do Sul - Campo Grande, I had my first fights. At this Grand Prix event I had two fights on the same day with no gloves and I became the tournament winner. Since then, MMA has been my career.

Great. Thanks for the time. Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank my agency - Alchemist for the support that they have provided and thank you guys for covering my career. For those who want to learn more about our work at CMSYSTEM, we have Facebook – and our website: www.cmsystem.com.br.

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