is one of
the most important names in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
A Carlson Gracie black belt, he was the first man to win the BJJ
world open-weight championship twice, in 1996 and 1997.
Now Bitetti is the jiu-jitsu coach of Antonio Rodrigo
Nogueira (Pictures) and his new team. He helped
"Minotauro" prepare for Saturday's showdown against Tim Sylvia (Pictures) for the interim heavyweight title
at UFC 81.
"We worked on guard passing and so he doesn't lose any position,"
Bitetti told Sherdog.com. "We trained a lot on ground control, the
full-mount, attacks to the arms, if he loses the full-mount to take
the back, etcetera. We are emphasizing the takedowns to
submissions, without losing the position, working from the top
until the submission."
Bitetti trusts in Nogueira's ability, but he points out that
Sylvia's reach is one of the American's best assets going into the
"His reach will be trouble," Bitetti said. "Rodrigo will have to be
careful on his feet. If he gets his face hit, he must take a step
back. Because Tim Sylvia
(Pictures), in addition to his good
jab, has a strong right hand. He has to be careful about his
counters. Rodrigo will have to look for the inside, shorten the
distance, and in the striking, try to take him down and get on
The black belt analyzed Nogueira's ground game by saying he had a
fluid submission style that needed altering.
"Now he is changing his game a little because of the UFC rules,
because the rounds have five minutes, where he can't be that fluid
and lose positions," Bitetti said. "He is adding details to his
game, like holding better, like the judo fighters. He knows how to
hold opponents better without giving them spaces to get out, like
he did before, when he fought in 10-minute rounds. Today, in
five-minute rounds, he can't lose any position."
After years of competing, Bitetti now has the challenge of leading
the BJJ training for a team full of great fighters, including the
Nogueira brothers, Junior Cigano and Rafael Feijão.
"It's a great challenge, and I like it," Bitetti said. "I always
helped Rodrigo on his BJJ, since the time he was with BTT. I was
always on his side. I think this makes my history in BJJ and MMA
greater. I fought great guys during my time, when there were no
weight divisions. Plus I competed a lot in BJJ. Now I'm teaching
some of my experiences."
The Brazilian is very excited with this new team and hopes for a
great future with his athletes.
"This team will get very strong," Bitetti said. "There are a lot of
good people training with us. We will [expect] not only a title for
‘Minotauro,' but for many others from our gym."
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