Bruno Pucci is only 22 years old but the Brazilian has been the subject of some speculation since moving to Singapore to join Evolve MMA a couple of months ago. He is a No Gi grappling world champion who already has a perfect professional record of 2-0 and is widely tipped to be a contender for the ONE FC featherweight title.
He is also a BJJ black belt who as well as winning the World No-Gi Jiu Jitsu Championship twice was also two times Brazilian National Jiu Jitsu Championship and finished on the podium at the World Jiu Jitsu Championship on no fewer than three occasions.
Pucci is following in the footsteps of ONE FC title contenders Leandro Issa and Zorobabel Moreira who both arrived at Evolve MMA with BJJ black belts and a handful of MMA wins and have gone on to become two of the top fighters in the region.
He says that seeing how successful Issa and Moreira have been since joining Evolve MMA was a major factor in his decision to relocate all the way from Brazil to Singapore, explaining to Fighters.com that, “Both Leandro and Zoro told me that without Evolve MMA they would never have been good enough to win so many fights and to fight for a world title. Like me they are BJJ champions but MMA is not only about BJJ and I hope after I have learned from all the world champions at Evolve MMA I can challenge for a ONE FC title too.”
When Evolve MMA owner Chatri Sityodtong offered Pucci a prestigious place on the Evolve MMA Fight Team he says he had no hesitation in accepting even though it meant moving to the other side of the world.
“I heard people in Brazil talking about this famous team in Asia where all the trainers are world champions but I never thought I would be able to join myself. It is a great opportunity for me to improve as an MMA fighter and also to become a better BJJ coach for all my students,” explained Pucci.
Pucci has been studying BJJ for almost a decade and although he is going to focus more heavily on his MMA career he has no intention of abandoning his roots and is looking forward to grappling with the other BJJ black belts at Evolve MMA.
“I think there are nine BJJ black belts at Evolve MMA so I hope I can learn from them, as well as learning from all the world champions in boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling,” offered Pucci. “Even though Gi grappling is not so important in MMA I still like to train because it helps improve your technique but No Gi grappling is my specialty.”
Some grapplers find it difficult to make the transition to MMA but Pucci has the advantage of already being comfortable without the Gi to the extent that he has won world championships and also comes to Singapore with some high level wrestling skills under his belt, stating, “I finished third at the Brazilian National Wrestling Championship two times so my wrestling is not too bad but I am not at the same level as Heath Sims who went to the Olympics or Jake Butler who was an NCAA Division One wrestler and they have been helping me to improve.”
Pucci has already won both his MMA fights but believes that he will be a completely different fighter by the time he has had the chance to spend a few months working extensively on his standup at Evolve MMA.
“Before my first fight I didn’t do too much striking but after that I started to spend more time on it. At Evolve MMA it is completely different because there are coaches like Attachai Fairtex who was a famous Muay Thai champion and Yodsanan Sityodtong who was boxing world champion and has fought MMA as well and when you work with teachers who have so much experience and knowledge you really learn a lot.”
Pucci competes at 145 pounds and has already signed a contract with ONE FC which will give all the current fighters in the featherweight division something to think about. He does not know how long he will have to wait to make his debut but is looking forward to fighting in Asia for the first time, concluding, “I only just joined Evolve MMA and I am improving so fast that every day I spend training here I become a much better fighter. I would like to fight soon but I know that I am improving all the time, especially in my striking, so I can be patient because a week at Evolve MMA is like a month training at most gyms and every day I am getting more dangerous for my next opponent.”
Interview courtesy of Evolve MMA