Marlon Sandro (right) has many motivations before Bellator 47. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
At Bellator Fighting Championships 47, Marlon Sandro will take on Brazilian-based Argentinian Nazareno Malegarie, a fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. However, the former Sengoku and Pancrase featherweight champion isn’t necessarily preparing to match his foe on the ground.
A Nova Uniao product under Andre Pederneiras’ command, Marlon Sandro doesn’t fear his opponent’s grappling game, nor does he believe that “Naza” will come to play “pure” jiu-jitsu.
“I’ve already seen some fights from Malegarie and I know he has a good BJJ background,” Sandro told Sherdog.com. “He comes from a good school, he’s a Thiago Tavares pupil, but I’m going to fight MMA, and wherever the fight goes, I’ll be ready.”
“I believe he will exchange a little and try to put me down,” continued the 34-year-old Sandro. “I’ve trained both on my feet and on the ground. I’m really confident that I’ll win.”
After turning in some brutal stoppages over the last two years, Sandro emerged as a knockout artist. However, it was his last fight -- a June split decision over fellow Brazilian Genair da Silva -- that has angered him and motivated him.
“I don’t want to belittle anyone, but I was surprised when they called a split decision,” Sandro revealed. “Me, Andre Pederneiras and Jose Aldo, who were in my corner, couldn’t understand how they decided that. I pressured him all fight, always moving forward. He was always walking backwards, and I hit him much more.”
Florida judges Barry Luxenberg and Rich Green saw the June 25 bout 30-27 and 29-28 for Sandro, respectively. Dissenting judge Ric Bays had it, quite surprisingly, 29-28 for da Silva.
“We weren’t satisfied with him winning a round, but that’s OK,” said Sandro. “We already saw the tape and fixed my mistakes. Now I’m focused on Malegarie.”
The “Junior PQD” bout was Sandro’s first of 2011, as he successfully rebounded from just the second loss of his career, having dropped his Sengoku crown to recent UFC signee Hatsu Hioki in December. Now, Sandro will be back in action for the second time in four weeks, something that he hasn’t done in six years.
“I took a lot of precautions to not get hurt last fight. Thank God, everything went OK,” said Sandro. “I returned healthy to my training, worked hard at Nova Uniao, and it confirmed how important it was to make a safe fight against PQD.”
Malegarie is just a means to an end for Sandro, however, as the Brazilian is eyeing yet another title belt.
“I respect everyone, but my thoughts are always on being the champion,” said Sandro. “Every fight I have, I do it with the intention to be No. 1 in the promotion. To achieve that dream, I’ve gotta beat Malegarie, a very tough guy, but I’m ready for that.”