Up-close with the stars of Evolve Fight Team

ONE FC provided the SportSanity team with an opportunity to meet top mixed martial arts (MMA) stars Jake Butler, Bruno Pucci and Singapore's Radeem Rahman in an exclusive masterclass and as we couldnt pass up such a wonderful opportunity, we went down and wanted to share it with you!

The three fighters demonstrated their respective skills in a media only workout showcase and we had the chance to speak to these top fighters to find out more about their lives.

 


Credits: Evolve-MMA


How has Singapore been for you so far?
Singapore has been great; it’s a very modern and international city.


How did your journey start off as a fighter?
I started with wresting from my hometown in New Jersey, United States. Wrestling is a huge sport, especially in my area and every kid starts out wrestling. I love the sport and stuck to it till I graduated from university and thereafter started competing in MMA.
 

What has been your most memorable competition so far?
It would be my first MMA fight. There was a lot of nerves built up and anxiety getting there to win. It was a great experience.


Who in your opinion is the best MMA fighter?
I’ll go with John Jones, he’s a heavyweight champion in the UFC, he is a great fighter, he’s young, and got a wrestling background and he’s unbeatable.
 

What is the hardest challenge you face when you train for competitions?
Physically it’s tough, when you’re in training camp, you just keep grinding it out everyday.  The mental stuff for me is not that bad, I’ve been competing my whole life so I guess I can manage the nerves well.
 

What are your goals for the upcoming competition?
This one coming up is to win, first and foremost. My last competition, I was very unhappy with how I performed mainly because I didn’t do the things that I trained to do. I want to make sure that I’m mentally prepared inside out, sticking to the game plan and hopefully finish the fight as soon as possible.
 

Do you have any long-term future plans?
Right now I’m focused on competing. I will compete for a little bit longer and stay healthy but obviously it can’t be forever so when I’m done competing, I’d like to continue working in MMA.
 

What is your walk out music and why?
For my last fight, it was a song by Nas, Damian Marley called “Strong Will Continue”, it’s an inspirational song about fighting and you know. I try to pick something that doesn’t get me too emotional, I want to be calm and also enjoy the beat.
 

Do you have a special ritual you follow?
No superstitious stuff, I try to sleep as early as I can during the day so I’ll feel fresh. I like to take a nap with I get there, take a two hour nap and then I start warm ups.

 


Credits: Evolve-MMA


How did your journey as a MMA fighter start?
I started training in jiu-jitsu when I was thirteen, back in Brazil. I’ve been competing in jiu-jitsu for many years before I started MMA. I started in 2004 and my first MMA fight was in 2011. I have lots of friends in MMA and I like to watch it on TV and then wanted to try out for myself one day.


How has training camp been for you?
The camp is always hard, like you’re always training, even if you are not, you still have to help a friend train. Training camps are usually eight weeks before the fight. We have to try harder and start our diet to drop weight and it’s really strict.
 

What keeps you going?
I like to improve myself to see how far I can go, better than when I started off. I started with grappling, so if my grappling isn’t good then I train more of it. Just to improve myself, that’s why I keep training everyday even if I’m tired.


Who in your opinion is the best fighter or inspiration?
I like to watch Jorgensen because for me he is a complete athlete; he’s very athletic, good in striking, wrestling, and grappling
 

What are your goals for the upcoming competition?
Of course the goal is to win right? I really want to win so I’ll do everything that I need to. I need to train hard and sometimes keep pushing myself.
 

Do you get competitive with your teammates when you fight with them?
Not really, it’s funny because all my best friends have already punched me in the face, so I’m fine with that. After trainings we sit down and keep talking but before that we train each other. That’s why sometimes even if you know that your teammate is better than you, I know he’s trying to help and when you do something wrong, he’ll tell you to do this better.
 

How long does it take for you to recover from an injury?
We all know how to fight and defend so it’s not so easy to get injured but of course when the fight is harder, you can get a lot more injuries. During trainings, you have to train safe, use protections. Training is tough and you get tired but don’t go hundred percent.

 

What are your long-term goals and future plans?
For fighting, I don’t know when I’m going to stop. I have to see when my body can take it. Aside from training, I do teaching and even if I stop, I still want to be in the fighting scene.
 

What is your walk out song?
I like to stick with the same songs, my last fight was some remix of “Hall Of Fame”, I like the lyrics.

 


Credits: Evolve-MMA
 

How did your journey as a MMA fighter start off?
Before MMA, I was a Muay Thai fighter and I love Muay thai a lot so I came to evolve and trained there. When I started Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling, it got interesting. So I tried out one or two classes and then I got hooked on to it because of the techniques. I started learning the moves and how MMA fighters train. The first thing I look for are MMA fighters who are strikers just like me, and then I realized that none of them are one-dimensional. They are so well rounded: equipped with Jiu-jitsu and wrestling.


Credits: Evolve-MMA


What was the transition from Muay Thai to MMA like?
I feel that MMA is more fun than Muay Thai because for Muay Thai when you compete in a ring, there are no worries on the ground, it’s just a stand up but MMA is different, as you have to think before making a move. The minute you start attacking, you take the guy down and it continues.


What is crucial while preparing for a competition in MMA?
I believe the hard part is to make weight for that category. Some fighters are not well discipline in their diet, it’s the same for me but when I start, it is eight weeks before the fight.


What is your diet like? Is there a nutritionist to guide you?
I start to eat less carbs, more protein so gradually to lose weight and then eventually make the weight for my category. Usually over here I have someone to guide me for nutrition. I also learn about the food that I need to fuel my energy. There are two important things, the food that I eat to make the weight and the food that I eat after I make the weight.
 

What has been your most memorable experience in MMA?
It is the first competition that I competed in, I feel happy not because I won but I get to see people who have been cheering for me, feel happy and proud.
 

Are people already drawing comparisons between you and Royston?
Maybe, maybe not? So far I haven’t heard anything but I’m really happy to see a lot of upcoming fighters in Singapore. And to make comparisons between different kinds of fighters shouldn’t be the way. Instead people should just focus on improving and supporting each other. I really feel happy for Royston, that there’s another Singaporean fighter coming up and I hope he does well for any competition.


Which fighter inspires you?
I look up to this fighter called Jose Aldo, he’s a striker but the thing about him is that he never gets carried away, he’s a champion but he never stops learning, he is still disciplined to train hard and that’s the kind of fighter I want to follow.  


What are your long-term goals and future plans?
Currently I’m still an active fighter, I plan to go as far as possible to even get a belt. It’s almost like an examination where you go inside the cage and I’m eager to see where I stand.
 

Do you have a walk out song?
I haven’t thought of it yet but my previous walk out song was Scorpion – Rock You Like A Hurricane. This time round, I don’t know whether I should stick to that song so I’ll see how.

 

Butler, Pucci and Radeem will be competing at ONE FC: HONOR & GLORY on 30 May at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. If you are a fan of them or you are free on that day, save the date and come see the fighting action!

Once again we want to thank One FC for this opportunity!


Written by Charity Chan

Charity is a writer contributing her works for SportSanitySG. She is currently studying in Ngee Ann Polytechnic - Mass Communications. You will be amazed by her enthusiasm towards anything fitness. Her passion includes, working out at the gym, rock climbing, travelling and enjoying good food with great company. 

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