After a world-record run in jiu-jitsu, Bruno Malfacine turned his attention full-time to MMA after his tenth world title. For his third professional bout, the Brazilian icon will take on Cristian Rodriguez Jr. at Brave 16, set for September 21st at the Mubadala Arena, in Abu Dhabi. Malfacine is eager to showcase his skills in a town known for its love and dedication to jiu-jitsu, and vows to honor Abu Dhabi with his best performance inside the Brave cage.
Bruno says he’s been getting messages from local jiu-jitsu fighters, friends and former teammates who form one of the strongest jiu-jitsu communities outside of Brazil, the home of the sport. For Malfacine, Abu Dhabi is indeed a second home.
“I’ve got a lot of friends that live there, so I’m pumped to be fighting in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Everyone I know there is sending me messages, and they’re all getting tickets to see me fight. I’ve been to Abu Dhabi several times before, I feel at home there. I’ve competed there a bunch of times and I know how much they love and appreciate jiu-jitsu and combat sports in general. So I want to honor their love of the sport with a great performance and a submission win.”
While he admits the focus is still on getting the fights to the ground, Malfacine is also looking to get better at his stand-up and warns his division that a knockout win might come soon rather than later.
“I come from jiu-jitsu and I’m very comfortable on the ground, of course, but I’ve been training very hard on my stand-up skills,” said Bruno. “I’ve been working hard on my striking and I can sense a KO win coming soon. It’s all about improvements, and I’m focusing on that. I want to make sure that I’m 1% better after every training session and that includes my striking, of course.”
Brave 16 will mark the second Brave Combat Federation event in Abu Dhabi. The promotion brings a title doubleheader as world champions Carlston Harris (welterweight) and Elias Boudegzdame (featherweight) defend their belts against Jarrah Al-Selawe and Bubba Jenkins, respectively. Also set for fight night are the returns of Malfacine and Lebanese superstar Mohammad Fakhreddine.