Gil Catarino MMA debut

Ricardo Dela Riva’s black-belt Gil Catarino in MMA debut defeats an opponent 10kgs heavier! Even in the internet age where news is just one click away, sometimes action occurs outside of big media areas and there is a delay for accurate information. This occurred when MMA event was held in Tenerife,Spain last December.

Rio de Janeiro BJJ & submission competitor Gil Catarino (a black belt from one of the most versatile BJJ masters in the world, Ricardo Dela Riva) made his MMA debut against Fabricio Werdum fighter Miguel Ganas at World Championship Tenerife 2. Ganas is a kickboxing champion and purple-belt in BJJ. He had the height, reach, and weight advantage of over 10kgs against the little giant in Catarino, 160 cm and 63kgs. With these adversities, Catarino imposed his will to win a unanimous decision in the fight.

Catarino looked to attack the ground game and closed the distance to avoid Ganas’s reach advantage. He shot to take the fight down to the mat and inside the 30-second mark, he had the intention of finishing the fight quickly by sinking a toe-hold. The submission was applied, but Ganas inexplicably escaped.

“He used vaseline all over his body because he knew I would fight for my strength, the ground game,” stated Catarino.

When the fighters were back on their feet, Catarino did not get desparate. Instead, he showed enough calmness to offer troubles to Ganas and put him on the ground for the second time. With the closed guard in, Ganas did not offer much trouble to the Brazilian warrior, who made an extra effort to open the guard and sink in his second submission attempt (the ankle lock). Ganas turned and Catarino grabbed him again to sink a knee-bar, which the slippery Ganas managed to avoid. The fight stayed at this pace until the final bell rang and Catarino won the decision.

“This fight was important for me because it will give me recognition. I arrived here and in my first BJJ classes I had only 5 students. Now, I have a considerable number of students and in our 2 last competitions, we earned 25 medals in 30 possible, this was a big achievement for me.”

Catarino is in partnership with World, Pan American, and European BJJ champion, Juan Francisco Espino. And his next commitments are already confirmed, as he will face the best Spanish fighter in a submission event in Valencia in a date to be announced. Also, his name is booked for the third edition of the World Championship Tenerife event. We hope this little Brazilian giant deserves the best luck!

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Denis Martins