“Belfort has all weapons to win; he’s better than Anderson in all aspects”
By Eduardo Ferreira
Photo Josh Hedges
One of the greatest names of the Brazilian Wrestling, Rodrigo Artilheiro was chosen by Vitor Belfort to train his takedowns in Las Vegas, on the United States, and talked to TATAME about the preparation of the “Phenomenon” for his fight against Anderson Silva, on UFC 126. “Vitor has all weapons to win this bout. We can’t predict the future, but I believe he’s better than Anderson in all aspects”, analyzes Artilheiro, who was surprised with the critics related to VItor, who decided to pick a Brazilian to help his Wrestling trainings on the United States. “I don’t understand why these thing that the physiology calls “mutt complex” – what comes from outside is always better”, said the six times Brazilian champion of Wrestling, who also commented the fact that none of the 15 experts interview by TATAME have bet on Belfort for winning the fight.
How are Vitor’s takedowns? Will he only try to defend himself or is there a chance of him trying to fight on the ground?
Everything’s possible. That’s his game plan and I can’t tell you that. I’m training with Vitor since he got here, in July or August. He called me when I was on my way to church, he said he wanted to train and, since then, we’ve started top train together on the gym I was training at. We train everything: exchange, takedowns, ground game, but my specialty is the takedowns. Everything can happen, we train it all, but I can’t tell you his game plan.
How are Vitor’s takedowns? He’s always been complimented by it...
I think Vitor is prepared, he’s technically good, has always been a talented guy and he has developed his skills a lot, he’s pretty fast, so the training’s been done. In my opinion, he’s ready. If you ask me how Vitor is doing, I think he’s prepared, ready to fight, doing fine in all areas.
We did an article on the magazine and, among the 15 experts we’ve talked to, all of them have pointed out Anderson as the favorite. Do you, that has been training with him, think he has any chances against Anderson?
Man, i don’t like to bet, even living in Las Vegas, but I’d bet all my cards on Vitor. I’ve said that already: in my mind, of a guy who once trained on the Nogueira’s TC, where Anderson trains… I know that he (Anderson) is an excellent athlete, a phenomenal guy, but I’ve always said that the only two guys that could beat Anderson are Vitor Belfort and Paulo Filho, if he’s on a good state of mind and well trained. Vitor is a guy that can beat Anderson and Paulo too, on those conditions… The others, I don’t believe they can beat Anderson. I think Anderson. Vitor has all weapons to win this bout. We can’t predict the future, but I believe he’s better than Anderson in all aspects.
The fact that Vitor hasn’t fight for over a year now might interfere on his performance, since Anderson has been fighting a lot on UFC?
I think it doesn’t make any difference, Vitor is much experienced. At the age of 19 he was the UFC champion. Picture it: when Vitor got his first UFC belt most of these guys weren’t even fighting. Anderson has fought a lot, with many tough guys, but this MMA thing is only getting to America now and when you’re there, what counts is your experience, what you’ve done in your fights, in your whole life. That’s what counts. Vitor is much experienced and the fact he hasn’t fought for over a year won’t interfere. In there what will count are his trainings, how much he’s prepared for it. It’s not just me, but the entire team knows he’s prepared for a great fight, and we bet on his win.
People has criticized a lot he choosing you as his Wrestling coach, once he’s living on the United States, a place with great wrestlers. How do you see it, since you’ve confronted many international fighters, has trained in Bulgaria and has a large experience as a coach?
To begin with, I don’t understand why these thing that the physiology calls “mutt complex” – what comes from outside is always better. Brazilians are the best fighters on the world, we are more talented, and we’re pretty good. If you look at UFC’s champions, you’ll see that most of them are Brazilians and that’s a pity Brazilian people see it that way. Werdum went fighting with Fedor and the Brazilians said Fedor would win. I’ve never seen such thing, it’s crazy. I fight Judo since I’m 5, I have a genetic baggage, since my father was a Judo fighter, he was on the Brazilian team, so I conquered many Judo titles. I’m a black belt, I’ve beaten great heavy weight in Brazil... From Judo I started training Wrestling, spent five months in Bulgaria, one of the great places of the modality… I’ve beaten Bulgarians, Turkeys; I’ve earned a Olympic vacancy for Beijing. I was supposed to go there, but I didn’t because of some mistakes of the organization. I’ve fought with Cubans, many guys… Sometimes the guys don’t really know what they’re saying.
Here, I’ve trained with high level athletes of the American Wrestling, like Randy Couture, I’ve had great trainings with them and they all love my training. It’s funny because the Americans come here and ask for help and the Brazilians claim the Americans are the bests (laughs). That’s all I have to say about it. I’m sad Brazilian people think that way. They should be happy to see a Brazilian fighting on a modality that, indeed, I agree it’s weird, but there are great talents. If you look at the Brazilian team, you can find guys really tough, and I’m sure they could beat any guys. I, thanks God, am here helping not only Vitor, but few Americans. It’s a shame that Brazilians think that way.
Now you’re ministering clases on Couture’s gym... How are things going in Las Vegas?
I stayed for eight months on a gym where great UFC stars train, like Forrest Griffin... I was the head coach of Wresting for MMA there. I think it’s kind of weird that the Americans called me to be their head coach and the Brazilians don’t believe in me (laughs). Now I’ve had a change since Vitor’s here, than I felt better on Couture’s gym. Randy signed a contract with me so I teach children; teach them the takedowns, Judo and he (Randy) is a great guy. I also am on a project with the local church of Wrestling school, and that’s another gym trying to hire me, see how funny it is (laughs)… A church and a children school. Thanks God things are going just fine here. Now I have to get my license, return to the competition trainings and I want to fight. I want to fight again in March and Vitor will help me with that. Here I have more opportunities; the doors are opening to me.