Prater Discusses Roots, WEC Title Shot

Feb 12, 2008
When Carlos Condit (Pictures) remembers his first sting of defeat as a professional mixed martial artist, he thinks of Carlo Prater (Pictures).

A 26-year-old veteran fighting out of Dallas, Texas, Prater (21-5-1) will get his second chance to defeat Condit on Wednesday, this time with the added benefit of fighting for Condit's WEC welterweight title.

Prater spoke to about the rematch in Condit's hometown of Albuquerque, N.M., which headlines WEC's latest broadcast live on the Versus network (6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET).

Martins Denis: You will have been competing in MMA for 10 years next month. Do you think you finally got recognition with this WEC fight for the welterweight title on Feb. 13 against Carlos Condit (Pictures)?
Carlo Prater (Pictures): For sure. It is gratifying to get this sort of opportunity as your first fight with a new organization.

Denis: Do you consider yourself a pioneer of the sport in the United States?
Prater: No, not really much of a pioneer at all. Maybe my story is a little different from some other fighters' stories. But I am certainly no pioneer.

Denis: As a fighter with a lot of experience, how do you see the nuances of MMA since your beginning until nowadays?
Prater: It has blown up, really become a quasi-mainstream sport for the American public. The fighters are becoming more and more professional. The fights are true epic battles, fought by highly prepared professionals. Ten years ago, "technical skills" were more of a deciding factor between two fighters. Nowadays, tactics and preparation make the difference.

Denis: You're a fighter under the Thugjitsu banner. What can you say about this name?
Prater: Thugjitsu, to me, is just combining all elements of MMA into one. Using jiu-jitsu as a base of course, yet discarding the whole "technique over power" aspect that is taught by the majority of jiu-jitsu masters. We believe preparation -- power plus conditioning plus tactics plus technique -- play equally important roles in this sport. Being as rough as possible whenever possible.

Denis: Who are your main teammates for this upcoming bout?
Prater: Yves Edwards (Pictures) and I sparred on several occasions before he left for Florida to fight in EliteXC on the 16th. I had been training for this fight in Brasilia with RFT/RKT, Julio Pudim/Sandro Bala, Bangkok Team and Gugu and his boxers. Here in Houston I have been training with Yves and Melvin Guillard (Pictures) and Saul Soliz at his Metro Fight Club.

Denis: You also have a luta livre brown belt under former Shooto Japan fighter Marcio Barbosa. Luta livre isn't very well recognized, and we don't see fighters raising luta livre's flag. What is this martial art and what's the importance of it to your game?
Prater: Luta livre is a very powerful yet overlooked martial art in MMA. Several big name fighters in this discipline have trained me in this art, such as master Eugenio Tadeu, master Hugo Duarte, my luta livre master Marcao from Brasilia, master Cromado (Marcio Barbosa) and professional fighter and good friend Pequeno (Alexandre Franca Nogueira (Pictures)) as well.

Denis: You fought MMA twice in Brazil and also several submission and luta livre tournaments. What did these times down there add to your development as a pro fighter?
Prater: Brazil is the womb from which vale tudo was born. Vale tudo morphed into MMA, and as such anyone who doesn't recognize Brazil's importance in this sport is losing out on valuable learning experiences. Brazil is my country, and my most memorable competitions were there. They helped me become the fighter I am.

Denis: During your long MMA career, you had ups and downs against UFC fighters in different events. Of Melvin Guillard (Pictures), Drew Fickett (Pictures), Spencer Fisher (Pictures), Keith Wisniewski (Pictures), Pat Healy (Pictures) and Derrick Noble (Pictures), which one was the most impressive victory and which one was the most frustrating defeat?
Prater: All of my victories are positive experiences. The losses helped me improve as a fighter the most.

Denis: Wisniewski and you have a sort of trilogy. He still has an advantage with two victories in three fights. Is there any special reason for so many fights with him?
Prater: No. The first fight was great. The rematch was a lackluster, disappointing performance on my part. The third fight I showed I could beat him.

Denis: Carlos Condit (Pictures) is next for you, and you already beat him four years ago in his hometown. Are these identical atmospheres or completely different ones?
Prater: Different. We are both much better now.

Denis: What has he changed from that period for this upcoming fight?
Prater: He has improved his ground quite a bit. And seems a lot more confident.

Denis: Condit beat some tough fighters like Frank Trigg (Pictures), Renato Verissimo (Pictures), John Alessio (Pictures) and many others in the last two years, winning six bouts in a row. You won five of your last seven. In your opinion, is his fight experience a little higher than yours going into the Feb. 13 fight?
Prater: We should be considered equals so far as fight experience goes.

Denis: Is this WEC fight the first step to earning a place in the UFC? What are you seeing for your career this year?
Prater: The WEC is home for me, and I am very happy to be fighting for them.
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>