XANDINHO became the current CageWarriors World Lightweight champion, a title that he has much pride in.Student of one of the most talented Murilo Bustamante’s black belts (Ze Marcello), the Niteroi native Alexandre Izidro, known as XANDINHO entered in the MMA nearly accidentally. An opportunity in 2003 at SHOOTO Brazil 2, showed a fighter titled as “notprepared for this game” in XANDINHO. At that time people commented that “a playboy” such as him couldn’t fight professional MMA. That impression was totally wrong about XANDINHO, who had humble roots, and was so far from the playboy’s image. He capitalized that excess of badmouthing about his first fight to train hard enough and grab an unanimous decision 4 months later over a kickboxing champion at SHOOTO Brazil 3. With little experience in MMA and only minor awards at BJJ competitions, XANDINHO didn’t have many opportunities of fighting in Brazil again, so a chance of moving to UK arose and he took it. Sharing his time between teaching BJJ and fighting MMA, XANDINHO became the current CageWarriors World Lightweight champion, a title that he has much pride in; take a look at all of what this Brazilian fighter has to tell us at OntheMat.com.
DENIS MARTINS: How is your life in England?
XANDINHO: I fought 7 times in 17 months of residency in England until now. I had a crazy attitude of fighting 3 times in 5 weeks, and I’ll not do it anymore. I lost to Abdul Mohamed in Cage Rage 13-“NoFear”(9/10/2005), so I went to Cage Warriors-“Strike Force 3″(10/1/2005) where I beat Jani Lax[7-6], and finally I tried to avenge against Mohamed and I lost to him again, this time in FX3-Battle of Britain (10/15/2005). This last fight against Mohamed wasn’t a right attitude done by me. I was so tired and my body didn’t react to my demands. Anyway I think my 7 fights were very good for me, I had three defeats where 2 of them were too much controversial (weird). But I’m very happy with this belt conquered and I will defend it in September at Cagewarriors belt at 9/18 “Showdown”.
DM: These three fights in five weeks were jeopardized. Why did you do it? What did you want to prove? XANDINHO: I like to fight and the opportunities arose on that moment. My manager told me about a belt-match at Cage Rage 13, so when I was preparing myself for this fight, he (my manager) told me about a possible match at Cage Warriors-“Strike Force 3”. But until then, the fight at Cage Warriors-“Strike Force 3” wasn’t for the belt. In a day after my fight at Cage Rage 13, I was informed that my fight at Cage Rage would be for the belt. So finally he told me if I was able to fight in FX3-Battle of Britain after only twoweeks of Cage Warriors’ match, I said to him: -“I’m okay”. For me I was in good conditions of fighting all tasks, but in reality I had to take some-time-off. Because the MMA sport demands a lot of your body, and my all fights had been 3 rounds, only against Lax at Cage Warriors-“Strike Force 3” elapsed less then 2 rounds.
DM: When you had the chance of going to UK, was your intention only to teach BJJ or to fight MMA well ass, or both?
XANDINHO: Both of them, but the main was to fight MMA. In Brazil I didn’t have many opportunities, due to politics and the closed groups which control the situations. I meant, we need to know someone else to indicate you, and then the fight-salary is so low. InEngland I had the enough value due to my black-belt, this makes a deserved reputation for me. I could show to the fans and promoters that I was capable fighter, because I didn’t have this chance in Brazil.
DM: You debuted in the UK MMA scene by a quick submission win over Yohan Quoniam[1-3] at CWFC-Ultimate Force in April of 2005. Is there anything to be commented by you about that match?
XANDINHO: That was a quick fight where I sunk a guillotine-choke in 51 seconds of fight. They changed my opponent for this fight, at first they changed twice due to a lack of opponents with will of facing me. I only knew who I was going to fight when, in the day of the event, I visited the website of the event and I saw that they updated the name to Quoniam. So I called my manager and he explained that the last opponent booked declined of fighting me too. This was not a problem for me because I was focused onfighting, it didn’t matter whoever was in my front.
DM: Two months later you added a defeat at your resume fighting against Dan Hardy [10-3] in the UK version of KOTC (KOTC-“WarZone” in 6/24/2005). And this was the first controversial results against you. I remember Hardy beat you by majority decision, right?
XANDINHO: I don’t think Hardy beat me, I watched the fight more than 10 times and I didn’t see reasons for his victory over me. Also, I can’t tell to you that I deserved to beat him by unanimous decision. That was a fight of 2 rounds with 5 minutes each. He didn’t do much in that match; and he only got small good moments in R2, but nothing clear to impress the judges, while I took his back, and I sunk a triangle. In R1, I reached several good positions to submit but I didn’t, anyway I was on the attack. He was fighting at his hometown and I believe he got the victory due to it.
DM: But he slammed you in the fight, wasn’t it what impressed the judges?
XANDINHO: Yes, he did. I think it can be the reason for his victory. Because besides of it, he was smiling, debauching of me during the fight. Hardy is a good fighter, tough. I would like to face him again.But it in the future, he’s not at my weight class. We fought in under 77kgs and I believe Hardy stepped-up on the cage weighting around 80kgs.
DM: After this defeat to Hardy, you beat Lax and then lost twice to Mohamed. Do you have any personal rivalry to him? How do you analyze those fights against Mohamed?
XANDINHO: No personal rivalry. I don’t consider my fight in Cage Rage 13 a defeat. I schooled Mohammed during the three rounds and he knows it. I think that result was due to the politic of the event, and he had a UK idol in his corner who was Ian ‘The Machine’Freeman. Anyone who watched that fight live knew that I won, and anyone who will watch it in the dvd will realize what I meant. In the rematch at FX3-Battle of Britain I beat him in the R1, the R2 was balanced and he won the R3. But, there is a fact, the fight was supposed to be 2 rounds of 5 minutes each, and the third round would only happen if the fight went to a draw. If the fight was equal in R2 and I won R1, I would win the fight, but it didn’t happen. There were a judge of Cage Rage judging this event too, and I believed it influenced the result.
DM: You talked about politics at the Cage Rage. Why do you talk about it?
XANDINHO: In that same day, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro and Jean “The White Bear” Silva battled for the World title of Cage Rage, so I think they didn’t want two Brazilians such as the champions of the event.
DM: Wasn’t the second fight against Mohamed premature? XANDINHO: You are right. I acted with my heart to prove for the judges of our first fight that they were wrong. If my master Ze Marcello was there in UK in that period, suddenly I wouldn’t fight. I was there alone, with my students, and like I mentioned I like to fight, so without anyone ‘to brake’ me, I would fight every weekend (laughs).
DM: Do you wanna to face Mohamed again?
XANDINHO: Yes I do. I want to face him at Cage Rage, because I want to prove that that belt which is with him is mine. I spanked him during the three rounds and ridiculously they gave him the victory by unanimous decision.
DM: Your MMA career in UK seemed to be more profitable at Cage Warriors, where you got important victories. Don’t you think?
XANDINHO: How can I disagree to you? I’ve a belt of Cage Warriors (laughs).
DM: You took two tough Scandinavian guys in Lax and Thomas Hytten[14-4-1]. How do you feel about the fight for the belt against Lax?
XANDINHO: I was very nervous to face Lax, because his experience in MMA was greater than mine. He had fought in Japan and he was undefeated in Europe for the last 4 years. I got to watch his K-1 HERO’S fight where I realized, even so he lost; he is good on tradepunches on the feet. I was a little worried and hesitant on fighting standing against Lax. I tried to elaborate my tactic on not trading punches on feet against him. I couldn’t jeopardize myself on eating a bomb on the feet and get KO’d. So I had in my mind on close the distance and take him down, I expected a tough fight even if we were in my way, which was the ground. But he vacillated and I didn’t lose my chance of choking him. I can affirm to you that I expected the 5 rounds of 5 minutes to beat Lax, but I got to finish it until in R1.
DM: Later you battled against Hytten for the title defense in a hell of match for you in R1. Were you nearly KO’d in R1? XANDINHO: Hytten was toughest opponent until now. The first round of our match was the hardest one of my life. This guy nearly KO’d me in R1 and it influenced my game a little in R2, because I got to recover myself during R2. In the begging of R2 I still wasdizzy. I think I beat Hytten because I had more stamina than him. I fought 25 minutes against a fighter who has rock-hands. I adopted a game-plan of trying to hurt him by ground£ at using my BJJ and Wrestling and avoiding his on the feet game.
DM: Didn’t you know anything about Hytten?
XANDINHO: Differently from Lax, I had never heard about him. I only knew he had a good reputation in Europe and he had conquered the European ValeTudo GP. He had faced and beaten another Brazilian (Ronaldo Campos), I was focused on this fight, but not so nervous like in that one against Lax.
DM: You had a fight against KOTC winner Mario Stapel at CWFC-Strike Force 6 (5/27), and this was your last title defense. People badmouthed this you last fight. What can you tell us about? XANDINHO: I didn’t understand this badmouth, because I fought frankly against Stapel. I took him down, passed his guard, imposed a ground£ and traded punches against him(who’s a striker). Of course I couldn’t keep a high pace in a 5×5 rounds minutes fight, this is not a easy deal to take. You know people in UFC who fights a title match commenting about how tough is to battle during 25 minutes, there’s no a correct conditioning to do to stay prepared for this kind of MMA marathon. I’m ready to die or to kill in my next title defense, but this is not to prove to anyone, this is to prove to me I can win without let the fight goes to score cards.
DM: Stapel is a tall fighter, did you feel problems with this?
XANDINHO: At R1 I didn’t reach the correct time to close the distance, I had to work quickly and to think in a better way to do it. So I found out and everything worked.
DM: What about your next title defense in 9/18?
XANDINHO: I am happy with this third belt’s defense, because if I win this time, the belt will be definitively mine.
DM: You next opponent, Franco De Leonardis, submitted his opponent in all his fights, but he’s still a BJJ blue-belt, while you flaunt a black-belt around your waist. What do you imagine about the pace De Leonardis will try to do? XANDINHO: I think he’ll try to push the fight on the ground, because his all fights hit the ground and he seems to be skilled, submitting 9 MMA matches. He’s a blue-belt, but we’re not going to fight BJJ, we’re going to fight MMA and he has a chance of getting avictory over a BJJ black-belt and 6 times BJJ League champion. But like I mentioned, this is a MMA match, so I’m ready to fight standing too. I only hope de Leonardis be like Samson.
XANDINHO: Yeah, when he lost to my teammate Marcelo”Bocão” Oliveira in 2004 he had a long hair, and now he cut it, so I hope his strength had been cut too, like Bible’s personage (laughs).
DM: We had more Brazilians such as Jose Aldo Jr. and Luciano Azevendo(with the same with of you) fighting in UK in 2005’s season. Didn’t the promoters offer you a fight against other Brazilian fighter?
XANDINHO: No, it not happened to me. In my opinion it is not a good deal for me. I am in Europe and I should fight against the fighters from there and not from Brazil. I think it wouldn’t be good for either of us. I prefer to fight against the Europeans and then in the future, who knows, fight against otherBrazilians.
DM: How would XANDINHO see that XANDINHO who fought in SHOOTO Brazil 2 in 2003, to this one who beat Stapel? XANDINHO: You saw my first fight, and when you see my fight against Hytten, you’ll see an incredible change. Foremost the experience that I acquired after these 8 fights, I didn’t win all, and I learned a lot from the defeats. In that my first fight against GustavoCareca, I displayed to all what the people can’t do when is going to compete MMA first time (laughs). I didn’t have experience, stamina or boxing, my wrestling was so-so and my BJJ was what saved me of being KO’d in that opportunity. My second fight was better, because I had explored my weakness and I got to impose a good wrestling and boxing over a kickboxing champion in Roberto Robocop at SHOOTO Brazil 3 in July 2003. Nowadays I don’t consider myself a complete fighter, mainly in the standing aspect of the MMA. However, my black-belt made myself to be a technical fighter, where I need to improve my aggressiveness on the ground and a little my wrestling. About the on the feet, I always look to improve it, MMA demands a good hands’ game on the feet all-the-time.
DM: How are your trainings in UK?
XANDINHO: My boxing and muay thai training is very good, because I train with two of my students, Danny Batten (who’s champion of Cage Warriors until 66kgs) and Chris, who’s my manager. About wrestling, I headcoached my won trainings based in what I learned from the Brazilian wrestling Team, Niteroi Wrestling, and BJJ I trained with my students. Of course it’s not the same thing of training MMA in Brazil, UK has several good boxers and Muay Thai fighters, but the people who we’ve trained in Brazil are more capable of providing good training sessions due to the experience.
DM: What are you plans for 2006 besides to defend your Cage Warriors’ belt?
XANDINHO: Well, for while I have intentions of fighting only in UK. But I’m waiting proposals of Japan or USA. I fight where I get better proposals.
DM: When you are in UK, what do you miss more from Brazil?
XANDINHO: I missed my family and friends. I missed the beach and anything more. The climate in UK is very different of the Brazil, and I suffered a little when we have cold-times in UK
DM: Anything else would you like to add for the Onthemat.com’s readers?
XANDINHO:I will defend my belt at September, where I intend to keep it. I want to fight Mohamed again and I want to thank all the UK fans that rooted for me in my 7 fights disputed in their country. Thank you very much for the reception. And of course thank you very much for the opportunity at OnTheMat.com.