Saturday, February 21, 2015

UFC Porto Alegre Fight Camp

Priscila Souza, Jessica Andrade (UFC), Mariana Morais (Invicta FC),
Me, and Jady Menezes @ Nobre Arte in the Cantagalo Favela

The first time I met Jessica Andrade, per usual, I had no idea who she was. In fact, I thought she was a guy. She walked into Nobre Arte sporting long board shorts, a loose T-shirt and a Torque snapback that hid her long hair. When she pulled off her hat and I realized I was looking at (a short) female, I had to laugh to myself. I get a lot of comments when my dress strays from the average skin tight Brazilian work out apparel... most of said comments are directed not towards my style, but my sexuality. Its refreshingly American to see a girl in baggy clothes.

Exhibit A: Girls don't dress like this in Brazil
Reppin' V for Vitafor my new supplement sponsor.

That day I was so exhausted from sparring that I couldn't even stay for the class. Rubens, my trainer made some kind of comment about who she was as he walking over towards me smiling down at a picture he just took with her, but I brushed it off. All I could think about was my protein and BCAA waiting for me at home.

It wasn't until I got home and got some chicken and sweet potatos in me (fighters in Brazil only ever eat chicken and sweet potatoes) that I had the energy to google the giberish that Rubens had been calling this baggy pants wearing girl.

"Batty taca" or something.

...Or, ya know, UFC's 10th ranked Bantam weight, "Bate Estaca" thats Portuguese for "Pile Driver". Real name being Jessica Andrade. I knew exactly who she was once I saw the real name. She made headlines in 2013 for facing off against Liz Carmouche in one of the first UFC bouts with two openly gay fighters.

As a general rule, especially after Junior Dos Santo's  wife got mad at me,  I try not to take pictures with any of the UFC fighters that I run across. I'd prefer to be in the UFC with them as opposed to just posing in an Instagram picture next to them, so my focus is always more on watching their training habits rather than hounding them for photos.

But whatever... most of my friends don't realize running into UFC fighters in Brazil is like getting mosquito bites; its inevitable and sometimes really annoying (because they have cameras and you didn't do you makeup).

So, the second time I saw her, I took a picture for Instagram.

It wasn't until the 3rd time that she showed up to Nobre Arte for a sparring session that I became interested enough to climb out of my shell and talk to her little posse. Jessica trains in Curitiba at Parana Vale Todo (PRVT) under Guilliard Parana. She was in Rio as part of her all female training camp in preparation for UFC Porto Alegre on February 22nd where she will be facing off with Marion Reneau. She came to Rio with 5-6 girls from other events like Invicta FC in the US and XFC here in Brazil to do the boxing portion of her camp with Master Claudio.

The sparring session started and Jessica was one of the first in the ring (There is only one ring and two people fighting at all times. All sparring happens under the watchful eye of of Claudio). One by one the girls that came with her went into the ring. Behind them went the guys. Even people that came in late went in, while I stood there in my headgear trying to stay warm and un agitated by the long wait. I wanted to get in the ring, but I've been conditioned in Jiu Jitsu to never ask a higher belt to train. Similarly, if Claudio was going to have standing there waiting forever, then I was going to wait patiently and try to pick apart every mistake that everyone made as they entered one by one like I had been instructed to do by Rubens.

Interestingly enough I noticed that in 45 minutes of sparring Andrade didn't through a single straight punch (jab or straight right). This intrigued me because like I said before she's pretty short and I was interested to see how she would close the distance between herself and a much larger opponent. Closing the distance in a fight is hard for me, especially with some of the taller guys that Master Claudio matched me up with.

Well, apparently, I have been over thinking the whole issue because she just lowers her head, keeps her eyes up, and goes in swinging to the body like a lunatic.

Jessica Andrade

Ridiculously effective! 
I know because I tried it when I finally got to go in against one of Jessica's fellow 135 pounders. She had a hard right hand but I was definitely able to use the Andrade whirlwind technique to close distance. Picking up on that little gem made meeting her totally worth the while.

And to think. I was going to skip training that day and lounge around in my bed...

The last round in sparring. All out for 30 seconds.

I've been spending a ridiculous amount of time at Nobre Arte
BCAA's thanks to Vitafor Supplements

Philadelphia founded...
Universally loved...

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