Prior to his recent appearance on ESPN “SportsCenter Asia,” lightweight Zorobabel Moreira was understandably a little on edge.
The first mixed martial artist to ever appear on the program, the Brazil native spoke briefly with anchor Steve Dawson about his upcoming bout with Felipe Enomoto at One Fighting Championship 3.
“I was very nervous before I went on ESPN ‘SportsCenter,’ because they told me they had never had an MMA fighter before, and my English is not so good,” Moreira told Sherdog.com of his on-air experience. “It is very crazy in Singapore right now because everyone is talking about One Fighting Championship, and there are posters of me and everyone wants to know about my fight. When I first came here, most people did not know what MMA [was], but now everyone has heard about One FC and has seen it on TV.”
Moreira and Enomoto will headline Saturday’s event, which takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore, and streams free and live on YouTube. Though the event is expected to pull a considerable viewership due to the card’s worldwide availability, Moreira says his primary focus is on his opponent.
“It does not matter if someone is watching or not when I fight. Whatever happens will be only about me and Felipe, so everything is still the same,” said Moreira. “I am happy because many people in Brazil can watch me fight, and I hope I can do well and make them proud, but it really does not change too much for me.”
After winning his first two bouts in his native Brazil, “Zorro” joined Evolve MMA in 2010 and has reaped both the personal and professional benefits of training at the world-class facility with lightweight colleagues such as Dream champion Shinya Aoki, Rafael dos Anjos and Eddie Ng.
“I like to train with Shinya because he has so much experience. He tells me that he believes one day I will be a champion like him. Every day, I work with the best trainers, and they have so much experience and so much knowledge,” said Moreira. “In Brazil, I was only poor, but here in Singapore I have a very good life. I love teaching my students, and the training is so good. There is nowhere in Brazil like Evolve MMA, maybe nowhere in the world. I am so lucky to be here.”
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Moreira used his ever-improving standup skills to defeat Andy Wang in his first One Fighting Championship appearance in September at “Champion vs. Champion,” stopping “The Ultimate Fighter 5” veteran in the second round with knees and punches. According to the Evolve jiu-jitsu instructor, the victory can be specifically attributed to the help he has received from the murderer’s row of standup specialists he now has at his disposal.
“My trainers are the best in the world at what they do. Yodsanan [Sityodtong] is a world champion in boxing, and Namsaknoi [Yudthagarngamtorn], Attachai [Fairtex] and Orono [Wor Petchpun] are all muay Thai champions who are very famous in Thailand,” explained Moreira. “I will never know as much as them, but there is no one in MMA who is as good at muay Thai as the trainers at Evolve MMA. That makes me confident.”
Regarding his upcoming contest with Enomoto, Moreira respects his opponent’s abilities. However, the expat Brazilian believes that nothing will come easily for either man once the bout begins.
“I think [Enomoto] is a nice guy and a very good fighter,” he said. “I saw his fight with Ole Laursen [at One FC 2 in February]. It was very good, and all the fans were very happy about it. I hope we can make a fight like that which people will enjoy. For sure, it will be a war, and it will not be easy.”