Vinny Magalhaes Responds to Igor Pokrajac, Says Takedown “Was a Bad Decision For Sure”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Vinny Magalhaes made his long awaited return to the Octagon Saturday night, and while doing so, showed the newest generation of fans why jiu-jitsu enthusiasts have heaped praise on the light-heavyweight for years. While the armbar Magalhaes utilized to record his sixth straight was one of the UFC 152 preliminary card’s highlights, his opponent Igor Pokrajac took to Twitter afterwards to voice his disapproval. According to the noted striker, he had been hoping for a fight and not a “grappling match.”
“In the first round I took him down and missed the submission. Maybe that made him feel good about it and think ‘this guy’s not going to submit me,” said Magalhaes, while discussing Pokrajac’s post fight tweet, and the fact that the fight ending armbar came after the Croatian took Magalhaes to the mat. “Maybe that’s why he decided to take me to the mat again….maybe he thought he could take me down and stay there, get some points. It was a bad decision for sure.”
Pokrajac’s comment was quickly picked up by several media outlets, not only because of his decision to take the fight to the mat, but due to the foundational place of grappling in MMA.
“I would understand it more if I had gone there to grapple and wrestle, stay on him, but that wasn’t the case,” Magalhaes told Full Contact Fighter. “I went there and I finished him. Look at the first round; I took him down, I threw some elbows, some punches, I passed and went for a submission. There was a lot of grappling in the first round, but it wasn’t like I was just holding him down trying to stall.”
“Then, when he took me to the ground he got locked up in a submission right away,” the 28 year-old Brazilian born fighter furthered. “That’s not a situation where I was stalling. There’s no reason to be saying what he said. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me at all.”
While Magalhaes, and evidently many others, disagree with what Pokrajac was trying to relay, the fighter is ready to move on. Like most veterans, the career of Magalhaes has featured it’s ups and downs, and the vet doesn’t believe now’s the time to pile the criticisms on his latest opponent.
“I’ve lost fights too, so, I wouldn’t want people to be making fun of me,” noted Magalhaes, who saw the “Submission of the Night” award go to Jon Jones for his keylock tapout of Vitor Belfort. “A lot of the fans don’t fight, so I don’t think they have the right to bash guys, call him names, especially when the guy’s down…Of course I didn’t agree with what he was saying, but I don’t want to see people tweeting him saying ‘oh stop bitching’, I don’t think it’s fair. It’s not an easy job.”
Now, Magalhaes can sit back and enjoy his accomplishment, one that he began mapping out years ago when he was released by the UFC in 2009.
“It was much easier to handle the pressure than I thought it would be,” said Magalhaes, who earned his way back into the UFC with a 7-1 run, which included winning a light-heavyweight championship with M-1 Global. “I think just because I’ve been fighting so much more lately. I had a little experience three, four years ago, but I didn’t feel nerves this time at all.”
Since his defeat to Eliot Marshall over three years ago, Magalhaes has been determined to become a well rounded MMA fighter, rather than just a world class submission artist. While his latest win came in a familiar fashion for Magalhaes, the Xtreme Couture fighter scored two stoppage wins while competing for M-1 Global.
“I said I wanted to get better, and that’s a job I’m going to keep doing in the gym, but I don’t feel like I have to show people that I’m better than just being a jiu-jitsu guy,” Magalhaes relayed. “In this fight, if Igor hadn’t been engaging then I would have had to show my striking skills, but there ended up being no need. For me, if people give me a chance to show my jiu-jitsu, I’m going to keep on doing it.”