This interview is brought to us by SG PRO FIGHT COMMUNITY, with Leandro 'Brodinho' Issa. Not only was he awarded 'most technical fighter' at this year's 2009 FBT Thailand BJJ/Grappling Open, he's also one of black-belt instructors at EVOLVE MMA, Southeast Asia's leading MMA academy. Thanks to the guys at SG Pro for this one. -Luke

Also check out their interview with Rafael dos Anjos

SG Pro – Fight Community has the privilege and the honor of interviewing the most technical fighter of the 2009 FBT Thailand BJJ/Sub-Grappling Open, Leandro Thomas Issa da Silva. Known to his peers and students as Brodinho, he is currently a 1st degree BJJ Black Belt instructor at Evolve MMA and is a BJJ Mundials World Champion with over 11 years of experience and has won numerous regional and national titles in Brazil. Join us as we discover what makes this World Champion ticks!

SG Pro: Brodinho, first of all, thank you for finding the time to do this interview with us!

Brodinho: Thank you. Thank you. I’m happy to be here. I’m sorry for my English. I am still learning every day.

SG Pro: First off, tell us more about yourself, the information that we find about you on the internet is limited. All we know is that you are a BJJ Mundials World Champion with over 11 years of experience, you won the title of Most Technical Fighter at the recent 2009 FBT Thailand BJJ/Sub-Grappling Open and that you are currently teaching at Evolve MMA.

Brodinho: I am from Ubatuba, Brazil. BJJ is my life. When I young, I was problem kid. I have many street fights all the time. But BJJ change my life and make me understand honor and respect. It make me understand to be calm and humble. I’m training BJJ now for 11 years every day for 6-8 hours every day. This is my life. I’m a professional fighter since I have been 15. I don’t know how many tournament I compete, but I think around 200-250 tournament. I am Mundials World Champion in 2004. In Brazil, I training at Gordo Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro. It is one of best schools in Brazil and have many World Champions and over 50 Black Belt there. Now, Gordo Jiu-Jitsu is become Evolve Brazil. It is championship academy. Gordo is the master there. He is many times World Champion and he invent the half-guard in BJJ. Now, I come to Singapore this year and I will live here forever. Evolve is my life and my family. Thank you to Chatri Sityodtong and Gordinho Correa for everything. I am now learning Muay Thai because I am professional MMA fighter. Muay Thai at Evolve is the best from Thailand. I am thank you to Evolve for making me better in everything.

SG Pro: How old were you when you started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and what draws you to it?

Brodinho: I have about 14 years old when I start BJJ. I love BJJ. It gives me discipline, honor, respect. It make me humble. BJJ is a beautiful art. This is it. It is art. I love to challenge myself physically and mentally. BJJ make me a better person.

SG Pro: We did a search on youtube and found a couple of your fights in no gi competitions in Brazil so do you actually prefer competing in the gi or without the gi and is there any difference to it?

Brodinho: I love gi more. I do both. But with gi, it is more technical and makes you a better fighter. If you learn only no-gi, it is very hard to reach a high level. There is big difference. When you are beginner, it is very important to learn with the gi. For my MMA fights, I still train with the gi because it make me to be more technical.

SG Pro: What is the thing that inspires you to keep on training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all these years?

Brodinho: BJJ is a martial art. It teach me to become a man. I love BJJ. This is my heart.

SG Pro: You currently have a 4-2 record in professional MMA, winning 3 of your 4 fights via submissions. Are you more comfortable grappling than striking and are you currently working more on your striking?

Brodinho: I am BJJ Black Belt. I am a World Champion in BJJ. For me, I am grappler. Submissions is natural for me. But since I come to Evolve, I am now training very hard in Muay Thai. The Sityodtong team is the best from Thailand. My dream is to have my Muay Thai as good as my BJJ. As a professional MMA fighter, this is what I need. I am lucky to have the best teachers in Muay Thai like Nuengpichit Sityodtong, Chatri Sityodtong, Yoddecha Sityodtong, Daorung Sityodtong, and everybody. They teach me so many things and I never seen so much technical detail before. Before I came to Evolve, I thought Muay Thai was just power. Now I realize that it is like BJJ. Muay Thai is art with many technique and details.

SG Pro: We reviewed one your fight at Fury FC 3 against Takafumi Otsuka and it seems that the referee stopped the match too soon and the camera shows you visibly upset and seemingly adjusting your cup. Would you want to share with us what happened in that fight?

Brodinho: The referee is there to protect the fighters. I know this. When I step into the ring or cage, I am prepare to die. The cup break because the Japan fighter knee my balls. This is illegal. I try to speak for referee that the cup is broken.

SG Pro: You won the 2004 BJJ Mundial World Championship under 70kg Category, how has participating in this prestigious event changed your life?

Brodinho: It is nice, but I want to be better more every day. MMA is a new challenge. My goal is to be World Champion in MMA in the future.

SG Pro: You were declared the Most Technical Fighter of the 2009 FBT Thailand BJJ/Sub-Grappling Open, share with us your thoughts on the tournament.

Brodinho: For me, I am happy because my students do so good. I win too, but more nice is Evolve is the Champion Team of the tournament. We have many tough fighter like Tommy, Judd, Neelan, Brian and everybody. Evolve is tough people. They have many tough fighters there for the tournament, but Evolve is better technique, more heart, and more fitness. The absolute finals for Black Belt was tough because Rodrigo is a top fighter from Brazil too and he is 10 kilos more heavy than me. Makoto in No-Gi final is good fighter too. I am happy to win both of these tough fighters.

SG Pro: When will your next fight be and how is the preparation for the fight going?

Brodinho: I am fighting in Art of War next. It is the biggest MMA show in China. I am start training already for it. Every day, 2x training per day. I train a lot in my Muay Thai with Nuengpichit, Chatri, and Yoddecha. This morning I train with Chatri and Nueng at 9am. I fight on November 28, 2009 in China.

SG Pro: Brodinho, you trained under Professor Gordo in Evolve Brazil and now that you are permanently in Singapore, you are training under Professor Gordinho. How is it like training under two of the best instructors that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has to offer?

Brodinho: I am have so lucky. I have the best teachers in the worlds for BJJ and Muay Thai. I learn every day. I am improve every day. They teach technique and details. So technical. I am so have luck. Gordo and Gordinho is best from Brazil.

SG Pro: How has teaching in Evolve MMA alongside some of the world’s best, changed your life?

Brodinho: I am so have lucky! In Brazil, I train with BJJ World Champions every day. Nothing new. In Singapore, I train with BJJ and Muay Thai World Champions every day. I am learning so fast. I improve so much. My teachers push me and teach me. Thank you for Gordinho, Nueng, Papa, Chatri, Lui, Tommy, Neelan, Brian, Josh, Oliver, and all the instructors. My team make me better. This is my family. My students make me better too. Evolve is my life and my family forever.

SG Pro: You were seen rolling around with your students and sharing tips and techniques with them. Most of the Evolve students we speak to talks of you as a jovial man who always make the effort to greet them when they enter the gym and as someone who is very approachable and that they see you as a friend rather than just an instructor. What are your thoughts?

Brodinho: Thank you for Gordinho and Chatri. Everybody want to be instructor at Evolve now. In Brazil, they have many Black Belt who want to come to Evolve. But Gordinho and Chatri don’t let. For them, only the best can come. The best fighters who are the best teachers and who are the nice people. I think Evolve have the best teachers in the world. All the Evolve instructors like each other a lot. This is family. My students is my family too. Gordinho and Chatri care about everybody a lot. This why Evolve is family. Love for everybody and learning together. Evolve is family.

SG Pro: Beside you and Professor Gordinho, two of your best friends, Mundials World Championship Silver Medalist, Almiro Barros and multi time Mundials World Champion, Antonio Braga are also Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors at Evolve. With such a strong instructors team, do you see any of your students competing more in both local and regional grappling tournaments and events?

Brodinho: Yes, the Evolve team have champion in first tournament in Thailand. Everybody is getting better. In future, Evolve will win a lot. My students will be best in Asia. Evolve is best already. Our family will have stronger and better. Best teacher is make best students.

SG Pro: Are you getting used to living in Singapore and used to the culture here?

Brodinho: Singapore is nice. Brazil is my home, but now Singapore is my home too. I want stay here forever. Everybody so nice. Evolve family help me so much.

SG Pro: We heard that you are really good at UFC Undisputed! So which is your favourite weight class to play and who is your favourite fighter to use? Or have you already created yourself in the Create a Fighter mode?

Brodinho: I play a lot. I like for video games. Andersen Silva is my favorite on the UFC game.

SG Pro: When a couple of our readers knew that SG Pro will be conducting an interview with you. They requested to ask a couple of questions so here goes;
What is the best way to beat an opponent who is bigger and strong than you in a Jiu-Jitsu competition? (eg: absolute division)

Brodinho: Technique make for win. If you better technique than opponent, you win. Practice everything. The detail is important. For big and strong, play top game is important. For submission, take the back and choke.

SG Pro: When injured, do you completely stop training? if you still train what is your training regime?

Brodinho: No I don’t like to stop. If I hurt bad, I stop. If I hurt no bad, I try to something. Swimming and other physical preparation. If no fight, I train 1x a day in the Fighters Program at Evolve. If I have fight, I have 8 week preparation with 2x training every day. BJJ and Muay Thai. Some wrestling and some MMA. I focus most on BJJ and Muay Thai. I eat protein shake and vitamins. I do running too. I do FightShape too. Everything is preparation.

SG Pro: What is the one piece of advice you can give for improving your Jiu-Jitsu game at any skill level?

Brodinho: Train consistent. If you come every week, you will better. If you don’t come every week, it is more time to be better. 2-3x one week, then be better for your jiu-jitsu. If more training, then better more. Evolve have the best teachers in worlds for you. So you can improve more fast.

SG Pro: You are well known for your flying armbar and your technique at jumping guard, is there any advice you can give us on how to train for these two techniques?

Brodinho: My favorite technique is flying triangle. I do many times in tournament for submission. Practice it a lot. This is what I do.

SG Pro: This last question is from one of your student; How do you make really nice pasta? (rumour has it that you made really good pasta!)

Brodinho: Yes I am good for pasta. It is cheap and easy to make. When Braga and I live together, I teach for him the make the pasta. I do pasta cook a lot.

SG Pro: And it’s time for our little word association again! This is how it works, i’ll name someone and you will have to describe that person in just seven words or less. Here goes nothing, Professor Gordinho.

Brodinho: the best in the world

SG Pro: Professor Gordo.

Brodinho: the best in the world

SG Pro: Antonio Braga Neto.

Brodinho: he is UFC Champion in future

SG Pro: Almiro Barros.

Brodinho: very good BJJ, my good friend

SG Pro: Rafael Dos Anjos.

Brodinho: UFC Champion in future too

SG Pro: 2004 BJJ Mundials.

Brodinho: Train hard makes victory

SG Pro: 2009 FBT Thailand BJJ/Sub-Grappling Open.

Brodinho: Team Evolve is Champion!

SG Pro: Singapore.

Brodinho: Beautiful country and nice people

SG Pro: Evolve MMA.

Brodinho: My family is the best in Asia.

SG Pro: Future.

Brodinho: I want learn every day

SG Pro: And of course last but not least, Leandro Thomas Issa da Silva.

Brodinho: I am hope Future MMA World Champion

SG Pro: Some really interesting word association there, Brodinho! What advice would you give to all the aspiring Jit-Jitsu practitioners out there?

Brodinho: Evolve is best teachers here. Training hard every week, ok?

SG Pro: Any parting words for our readers?

Brodinho: BJJ and Muay Thai change your life. This is it. Evolve is special. No have academy like Evolve in the world. Evolve family is champion. Evolve is for peoples who are champion in their heart.

SG Pro: Brodinho, thank you so much for your time and we hope to hear more from you in the near future!

Brodinho: Thank you, thank you. I fight next month in Art of War in China. I will win for Evolve. I fight many times next year. Come train with me!

*SG Pro – Fight Community would like to thank Brodinho for finding time to do this interview with us. Do continuing visiting SG Pro – Fight Community for more MMA goodness!


Tony Eduardo said...

Brodinho is the best!!! Hope to train with him sometime soon at Evolve.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you'll see him at Evolve, Tony

JOHN said...

Why not? Doesn't the article say that he teaches at Evolve?

Chatri said...

To avoid any confusion, Brodinho lives in Singapore and teaches at Evolve on a full-time basis. He is one of six BJJ black belt instructors at Evolve Singapore.

Dennis said...

Keep it up Brodinho, you are on your way to success in MMA!