NAME: Alex Prates
INSTRUCTOR: Bruno Panno & Royler Gracie
ORIGINAL TEAM: TP Fight Team
SCHOOL IN SEA: Bangkok BJJ
CONTACT INFO: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOMETOWN: Porto Alegre, Brazil but coming from Sydney, Australia
ORIGINAL TEAM: BTT//Gracie Humaita
PROGRAM/SCHEDULE: full schedule + available for privates
TIME OF STAY: Nov. 24 -- late-Jan.
Interview with Alex Prates, by John O'Neil for Warriors Realm (2007)
WR: Alex, can we begin by having you tell us where you are from and how you initially became interested in martial arts?
AP: I am from Porto Alegre in Southern Brazil. A close friend of mine was a really good boxer and he started to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). He was impressed by its effectiveness and so I thought I would give it a go too.
WR: Who did you train with in Brazil?
AP: I started to train BJJ at Sul Jiu-Jitsu under Master Walter Mattos and Master Mario Sperry. The Sul Jiu-Jitsu Academy is well known in Brazil for its discipline and hard training and has produced some top Brazilian competitors. I was a BJJ purple belt when I left back in 2000 to come to Australia.
WR: Can you describe the jiu-jitsu and MMA scenes in Brazil? Do the combat sports receive a lot of attention there?
AP: Combat sports are so popular over there, the people treat you like a warrior with lots of respect if they know you have been in the ring – it doesn’t matter if you’re a fighter who’s been in the big shows for top dollars or if you fight on local shows for a couple of hundred, the respect is there. MMA - or Vale Tudo as we call it there - has a long history in Brazil and grew to some extent out of challenge matches between martial artists as to who had the better style, or sometimes just to resolve disputes between fighters. One fighter would go to another’s gym at the agreed time, the doors would be closed, and all arguments would be settled!
WR: When did you first begin training in MMA and what prompted you to take an interest in the sport?
AP: When someone was preparing to fight I was always around to get bashed a bit! Really, when Bruno Panno was training Ian Schaffa in ground fighting for his local bouts, Bruno asked me to spar with him as part of Ian’s preparation. Ian would come back from his fights and say that the sparring was harder than the fighting and that I should give MMA a go.
WR: Who have been the main influences on you as a fighter?
AP: Mario Sperry for his discipline and training regime, Ian Schaffa for his mental toughness and Master Bruno Panno for the excellence of his BJJ technique. Master Mick Spinks has helped me to combine all of these elements together and has made me into a more complete fighter.
WR: When did you arrive in Australia and where are you currently training?
AP: I arrived in Australia in 2000 and I proudly became an Australian citizen on 12 October this year. I am currently training BJJ and ground fighting with Master Bruno Panno at the Gracie Sydney gym (http://www.graciesydney.com)and my stand up with Master Mick Spinks at the Double Dragon (http://www.doubledragon.com.au). Former Oceania and Australian wrestling Champion Peter Coppleson also works out with me twice a week to improve my wrestling.
WR: Can you tell us a little about your training regime?
AP: I do two hard fitness sessions and 3 weight sessions each week without fail. The rest of my training time is divided between kickboxing, gi and no gi BJJ, wrestling and MMA sparring.
WR: Do you change your training in the week prior to the fight? What about cutting weight?
AP: I like to have 4 days off from training before a fight. Cutting weight is something Master Mick Spinks is an expert in, so I do whatever he says and we are always spot on!
WR: How do you prepare in the final hours before the fight?
AP: I don’t have to go through any mental processes or do anything too complicated. Knowing that I’m fighting in front of a big crowd is all the psyching up I need. I feel confident because I know that I’ve done the hard yards in training, and I just want to get into the Hexagon and fight.
WR: How much do you know about Korey Gibson and have you been training any specific areas for your fight with him?
AP: I’m a big fan of Danny Higgins who is the head of the Integrated Team. He knows how to prepare his guys - Adrian Pang, Matt Cain and Kyle Noke from Integrated are top class fighters. So I’m expecting Korey to come in ready to go and I’m anticipating a hard fight. I’m not training any specific areas for this fight – we’re both well rounded and I need to be ready for anything.
WR: Anything else you would like to add Alex?
AP: I would like to thank my sponsors Keiko Raça Australia Fighting Wear and Awesome Fighting Equipment. I’d also like to thank my coaches and training partners for getting me ready for this fight.