Words: Tom Bell
The last time Jiu Jitsu Style spoke with Luiz Tosta, he was the reigning UCMMA bantamweight champion and he was adamant that he would do whatever he could to represent the gentle art in the cage, on the biggest stage he could.
Well, as things go, Tosta did what he intended to do. He once again walked to the cage, this time putting on a literally perfect display of jiu jitsu with a toe hold win over Danny Lawson to defend his title.
He walked away with no cuts, scrapes or bruises and an even deeper belief in his own life choices. However, Luiz made a decision to vacate the UCMMA 135lb title and walk away from the promotion in search of further opportunities – just as he was looking comfortable at the top of the UCMMA bantamweight division.
He was looking for a bigger opportunity, and boy did he find one. Bellator announced they had signed the Mario Reis black belt to fight the undefeated Dean Garnett, a dangerous submission artist himself with a 7-0 record, in London on July 16th at the O2 Arena.
But the London Shootfighters man likes a challenge, since dropping the gi to train full time in MMA, the 35 year-old has been preparing with focus for any upcoming opportunity that may have presented itself.
“I have been very focussed,” says Tosta. “I haven’t been training anything in the gi for a long time now, I’ve been training just MMA and that’s what I’m happy to do.
“I dropped my belt, I was the champion of UCMMA and I decided to vacate it without knowing what would be next.. All I knew was I had to keep training and looking for the big opportunity I wanted to have and it came. I don’t know if it was luck, but to be honest I have worked hard for it and it feels deserved to me.”
Instead of fighting at UCMMA’s usual stomping ground, the Troxy, Tosta will be walking out in the O2 Arena and hopes to bring his usual bouncy energy and support, but on a much larger scale. That of course means the return of his almost iconic walk out song, ‘Rap das Armas’, made famous by cult film ‘Tropa de Elite’ (The Elite Troop) and the ‘parapapapa’ chorus that Tosta can familiarly be seen singing in his gi, on the way to the cage.
“I’m going to keep the same energy, I have already sent the song to them and I hope to hear it because it’s a big part of my fight,” says Tosta. “It helps me to really feel the energy, it’s my song and I can’t wait to walk out to it. It brings the hype for me.
“I love that moment to be honest. A lot of people have been asking me what song I will pick but it will be the same, they are always happy when I say this. I love to sing it in this moment because to be honest with you, that song has been a big part of my life.
“It has been a part of my life when I opened my bar and my businesses, I used to play it a lot and this song means a lot to me.”
Ahead of this weekend’s fight, he knows what he wants. He wants to be where he is comfortable, in London, with his students and teammates and his jiu jitsu. It would be a sad sight for Tosta to abandon what he does best and not play to his strengths; after all, he possesses one of the purest submission games in UK MMA.
“I know I want to go to the ground,” explains Luiz. “I’ll make that clear and I’m not afraid to let him know that. That is my game plan because I represent jiu jitsu. That’s my strength and that’s always going to be my plan A, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan B, C and D as well. But, I am a Jiu Jitsu fighter. I respect him, but I believe I am better.
“Jiu jitsu is the only thing that I have a degree in. I stopped university with just one year left out of four to come to London as a blue belt. I was in a different university, a jiu jitsu university and graduated to each belt before getting my black belt. That’s my degree and I can carry that degree anywhere in the world – not many can say that and I am proud that I can.”
For ticket and viewing information visit http://bellator.spike.com/
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