When Fabio Holanda arrived to Canada and started to teach, alot of people were talking. One because he was a BTT Black Belt and two, because he was rumoured to have a unique fighting style. In Canada, whenever a new black belt in jiu-jitsu arrives, the word travels fast. When Fabio Holanda arrived to Canada and started to teach, alot of people were talking. One because he was a BTT Black Belt and two, because he was rumoured to have a unique fighting style. Fabio demonstrated his skills with grappling wins over Canadian Jeff Joslin, UFC fighter Ken Florian and even Mike Fowler. And if you look carefully, you will notice that he cornered alot of the current Canadian UFC fighters coming out of Montreal such as George St. Pierres, Dave Loiseau and Ivan Menjivar. In a recent interview for OTM, Fabio talks a little bit more about his back ground and his history in the sport.
1)Who did you train with in Brazil?
I trained with my teacher, Murilio Bustamante, at Brazilian Top Team as well as Mario Sperry, the Nogueira brothers, Paulo Filho, Ricardo Arona and many others.
2)How did you get the opportunity to come to Canada?
The first time I came it was to visit my brother who moved here to go to school. When I arrived I met Ben Meireles and Philip Gelinas and did seminars at their schools, Ronin MMA in Ottawa, and GAMMA in Montreal. Things went very well and I was invited to return as the Jiu Jitsu instructor at GAMMA and at the same time started BTT – Canada the first Brazilian Top team affiliate outside of Brazil.
3)How is the level in Canada for Grappling compared to Brazil?
Brazil started training this years ahead of the rest of the world and as such holds an overall lead in quality and quantity. Canada however has developed some world class fighters in BJJ and submission grappling and has begun to attract some very good teachers from Brazil. Canadians are developing a good reputation where ever they fight now.
4)What are some of your most memorable wins? Losses?
In MMA my most memorable win was against Kultar Gill. His reputation as solid fighter at the top of the 155 lb class made submitting him an instant reputation maker in my case. The fact that he was my first win made it double important to me. In submission grappling my wins over Jeff Joslin, Ken Florian, and Mike Fowler, all by submission helped to cement my reputation as a serious conternder.
5)What are some titles you have won?
I won three times at NAGA, Ontario Submission Wrestling Invitational, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship, 6 time (Brazilian) State Championship, 3rd place at Pan Americans and 3rd place at BJJ World Cup.
6)You are known to have an awesome Kimura sequence, did you learn this or create it yourself? And can you explain a little bit about it?
When I was training at the BTT headquarters in Rio de Janiero there were over 50 black belts training there. Each one had a variation on this technique. I liked this technique so I asked everybody how they did their variation and I learned this way. I developed the sequence from this training.
7)Is there any Canadian you would like to fight BJJ/Submission/MMA?
I don’t choose my opponents this way. I fight the person in front of me. I love the fight game and I am always going to fight whoever is there.
8)Talk a little bit about your academy
The academy is called GAMMA. We are based in Montreal and we are the headquarters for Brazilian Top Team in Canada. We work with both gi and no-gi grappling as well as MMA. The professional fighters train more during the day time. We also have classes in wrestling, boxing, judo, and muay thai as well as JKD , Kajukenbo (self defense) and Kali. The academy has been here for 10 years and I have been involved here for 3 years. We compete in BJJ as well as submission grappling tournaments and MMA events. We also compete in muay thai, boxing and wrestling. Some crazy guys also fight full contact stick fighting.
9)Is it hard to keep your technical level up to par for when you go back to Brazil to compete? Or is the Canadian level good enough to keep you sharp?
The Canadian level is good enough to keep me sharp. Sure it is not as competitive as in Brazil but IU do a lot of wrestling here and that with the Jiu Jitsu keeps me sharp.
10)Which of your students stand out?
A lot of my students stand out so it is hard to mention them all, but Sean Locke, David Aguzzi, Nino Bezzera, Ulisses Rocha, Thierry Quenneville, Patrick Cote, and Kareem Byron all come to mind.
11)It seems that a lot of the fighters from UFC, Montreal based, were or are training with you, how did that transpire?
When I came to Montreal the first time, three years ago, I was able to meet a lot of the MMA guys training in Montreal at the time. They all came to my seminar that I gave at GAMMA and liked what I had to show and how it affected their game. When I returned to Montreal to teach they joined the school and started to train with me full time. Later we started the MMA team, BTT-Canada so we could focus our efforts in this area.
12)Is your goal in Canada to teach and grow your academy or still compete?
Both. I am still being approached by people who want me to train them or give seminars in their schools, and I am still very interested in competing in both MMA and submission grappling.
BALEIA-Thank You very much for your time Fabio, is there anyone out there you would like to thank?
I’d like to thank Philip Gelinas, Ben Meireles, Daniel Gazoni and my Brother Fabiano Holanda, it’s because of them I am here today. All my team at BTT Canada, my sponsors (Burningmonk Tatto, Shenanigans Irish Pub) and my wife for all the support.