|On The Ground in Rio|
Unlike their first day in Rio de Janeiro, when the weather was cloudy, Jason Miller and Patrick Cummins woke up to a pleasant surprise: after 15 days of bad weather in Rio, finally the sun had appeared.
“I’m a lucky man! I told you!” said the funny Jason, while eyeing the full Barra Beach from the front door of the Sheraton Hotel.
Ten minutes from the hotel by car, Miller, Cummins and Ryan Parsons found Gordo Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
“Looks like a house from outside,” observed Cummins while entering the gym, which is actually a two-story house transformed in a jiu-jitsu academy. After being welcomed by Roberto "Gordo" Correa on the first floor (the larger area, where more than 30 people were training in the gi), the Americans were guided to a smaller dojo on the second floor, where the MMA and no-gi training takes place. In there, some of the best MMA guys from “Gordo’s” team were already waiting for them -- guys like Danilo “Motoserra” Pereira, Wendell “Negao” Oliveira, Carlos “Ta Danado” Rocha, Rodrigo “Ximbica” Ribeiro and Davi, who took second place in the Brazilian trials for ADCC 2009.
During the warm-up session, the legendary Mario Sperry appeared. Jason didn’t recognize him until the end of the session, when Parsons told him.
|Visiting Gordo and Sperry Tomorrow|
Tomorrow is a holiday in Brazil. With the country celebrating the feast of Nossa Senhora da Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, most businesses won’t be open. But, that’s not the case with the Gracie Fusion-affiliated Gordo Jiu-Jitsu.
“We have a lot of guys with fights scheduled for soon, we cannot stop training,” said Roberto “Gordo” Correa, who’s excited to receive the three Americans. “Actually, I’ve already met Ryan Parson and Jason Miller when I was training Renato ‘Babalu’ [Sobral] in the U.S.A. They were very nice with me. It’s going to be a big pleasure to receive them in my academy,” finished the man widely considered as the inventor of half guard, a black belt under Carlos Gracie, Jr.
According to “Gordo,” top guys like Mario Sperry, Wendell “Negao” Oliveira, Danilo “Motoserra” Pereira, Carlos “Ta Danado” Rocha, and Rafael dos Anjos will be present for tomorrow’s sparring session.
After sparring, Ryan Parsons entered the cage and, for almost 30 minutes, helped Patrick and Jason teach their Brazilian cohorts some wrestling tricks.
“It´s amazing to have the opportunity to learn from top wrestling guys like this,” Eder Jones said. “We should have more guys like them in Brazil. Wrestling is essential to any MMA fighter in the world. Plus, they are very nice guys. I hope they can come more here during this week.”
With training finished, Gaze joined everyone in the cage for a group picture, and invited Parsons and his fighters to return whenever they want.
“Besides being very technical, they are very nice people. It would be amazing to have them here during the whole week,” said the Nogueira CT head coach.
Jason Miller faced boxing specialist Eder Jones in what would prove a tough final round of sparring. The Brazilian attacked Jason with punches, kicks and knees, while Miller answered with strong leg kicks and punches. At the end of the round, Eder took Miller down and attacked with some ground-and-pound, but the American was able to get to his feet.
Cummins’ last round was against 155-pounder Rodrigo Kanu. The larger, stronger wrestler had no problem taking his opponent down a few times.
In the second round, Miller took Igor down a couple of times, but “Chatubinha” stood up and kept attacking. Finally, he got “Mayhem” tired and on all fours -- Igor’s favorite position to lock on the anaconda choke, which he used to submit Jason in the last seconds of the round.
Meanwhile, MMA neophyte Cummins faced the much more experienced “Chatuba,” a veteran of over 30 fights, and known in Brazil as the master of the anaconda choke. Gaze told “Chatuba” to go slowly in the standup department, since Durkin didn’t have much muay Thai experience. Instead, Cummins showed his top wrestling skill, scoring four very impressive takedowns on Santos and completely dominating the round. At the end of the five minutes, the guillotine specialist heaped praise upon Cummins.
“This guy throwed me in the ground without making any effort,” said Santos. “I couldn’t do anything with him.”
A note about the “Chatuba:” it’s not a family name, but rather the name of the most dangerous favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro, where cousins Alan, Andre and Igor come from.
The first session was between Cummins and Miller. They started slowly, but soon the sparring began approaching a “real fight” pace.
“Those guys are strong,” said Gaze, impressed with the way Cummins threw Miller to the mat. “You said they are 185, but they look more than 205, maybe heavyweights.”
After that, Miller used his superior standup to avoid the wrestler’s takedowns, but Cummins definitely got Miller tired for his second round of sparring. Miller would take on welterweight Igor “Chatubinha” Fernandes, while the fresher Cummins met Igor’s cousin, Andre “Chatuba” Santos.
|Brazil - Day 1|
Tiring, but very exciting. That’s how American fighters Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Patrick Durkin Cummins described their first day in the Sherdog Fighter Exchange program.
After a 16-hour trip from San Jose to Rio de Janeiro, Miller and Cummins -- along with trainer Ryan Parsons -- had just two hours check in at the Sheraton Barra, unpack their bags, and go straight to a hard training session at Minotauro CT. But, even with almost no sleep, Jason Miller never lost his sense of humor.
“They put me side-by-side with that big guy (Cummins) in the airplane. It was almost impossible to sleep,” said the always funny Miller. “I feel like I was thrown down from the airplane inside an MMA cage,” Miller added, after being informed by muay Thai and MMA head coach Alex Gaze that his first training in Brazil would be a sparring session with boxing, muay Thai, takedowns and submissions allowed.
After being welcomed by Gaze and the local fighters, Miller and Cummins got some shin protectors and boxing gloves and entered the octagon. Training started with two five-minute warm-up rounds. After that, each fighter did three five-minutes rounds, simulating an actual fight.