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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2002

Heating Up For Pride 20the “zen Machine”is Ready For Yet Another Test!

Heating up for PRIDE 20
The "Zen Machine"
Is Ready for Yet Another Test!

By Eduardo Alonso
Mario Sperry post-fight at Pride 17

      The "Zen Machine", Mario Sperry, doesn’t need any introduction among the NHB fans all over the world. Three times BJJ world champion, Sperry stayed undefeated in BJJ competitions for 14 years, and more impressively without having a single point scored against him in competitions during all those years! His amazing success in BJJ was also repeated at Submission Grappling with memorable wins at Abu Dhabi, and as true champion Mario wasn’t satisfied with that and wanted a new challenge to his career, testing his skills in NHB! To resume his NHB career Mario Sperry finally signed a contract with PRIDE, and despite what many would believe he started by fighting the very best the event has to offer, facing one of the most active and feared fighters in NHB history, Igor Vovchanchin. Not only the "Zen Machine" fought Vovchanchin but he also beat him! Now, after several months waiting for another chance to fight at PRIDE Sperry is finally coming back to the event, facing a young, up and coming fighter from the Chute Boxe team, Murilo Ninja, in what promises to be one of the more intriguing matches so far in 2002. FCF already got Ninja’s words on this classic Brazilian Top Team vs. Chute Boxe encounter, and now, just before his trip to Japan for the fight, Mario Sperry himself shared his views about this fight and showed why he’s considered a true class act, as FCF delivers the heath for PRIDE 20!

FCF:   After your win at PRIDE 17 against Igor Vovchanchin, you’re finally coming back to the event. How was it to deal with the expectation to fight during several months and never getting a shot?

MS:     It was sort of some tough times for me because I was intending to fight a good while ago, and the fights wouldn’t happen. I tried several times to contact the event’s people, but we couldn’t get an agreement. But the good thing about it is that I kept on training, I didn’t stop! I continued to train and looked to improve my technique, in fact not only mine but my student’s techniques as well. And in the end, thank God, everything went right.

FCF:   PRIDE only announced your opponent with little more than two weeks before you’re the fight. So, how was your preparation for this fight? Did you get the chance to do any specific preparation for Ninja?

MS:     This time it was even a bit more tranquil than in my previous PRIDE fight, because last time I found out that I was going to fight Igor Vovchanchin only five days before going to Japan! So basically I try to make sure that I’ll prepare in all aspects, like physically, and technically in the same way for every type of athlete. But in the end we start to draw a strategy, we look at our opponent’s strongest points and stuff like that! So I don’t think this was much of a problem because this time I consider that I even had a good amount of time to prepare for my opponent’s game.

FCF:   You recently dropped some weight, joining PRIDE’s middleweight division. How much will you be weighting for this fight? And are you already at your fight weight, or will you have to drop some extra pounds in Japan?

MS:     I will be weighting at the division’s limit, around 93 or 94 kg. By the way I’m already weighting that much, so I won’t have to drop weight there.

FCF:   Several opponents were cogitated to fight you at PRIDE 20. Did the choice of Ninja as your opponent surprise you in any way?

MS:     Look man, I never liked to fight against other Brazilian fighters, and in fact this will be the first time in my career that this will happen abroad. But I expect anything! To tell you the truth what really surprised me was to fight Igor Vovchanchin! (Laughs) Not disrespecting Ninja by any means! Not at all! But I’m prepared to anything, and I’m not in position to pick fights or fighters, I’m here to fight. I’m a PRIDE employee, so I have to expect anything and accept anything.

FCF:   What do you think of Ninja as a fighter? What are the strongest and weakest points of his game in your opinion?

MS:     He has a very few weak points! He is an excellent all around athlete! He works very well in all aspects. He works very well on the ground, he knows some ground game! He also knows Muay Thai; he is very aggressive and has a great cardio. So he’s a dangerous opponent for anyone! He will be a tough fight to anyone! He’s a great athlete.

Click here to continue the interview

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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