‘Junior PQD’ Places Pressure on Sandro in Bellator Debut

By Gleidson Venga Jun 23, 2011
With a 10-3 career record and five straight wins since dropping to featherweight in 2009, Genair da Silva is ready to realize his dream of fighting in the United States.

The Renovacao Fight Team product also known as “Junior PQD” will make his stateside debut Saturday in the opening round of Bellator Fighting Championships’ “Summer Series” featherweight tournament. The Brazilian prospect’s leap will not be an easy one, as da Silva has been tasked with meeting former Sengoku knockout artist and fellow Bellator newcomer Marlon Sandro in the quarterfinals of the eight-man grand prix.

Speaking recently with Sherdog.com, da Silva expressed great respect for his opponent, who, like him, hails from one of Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas. However, even as an underdog and relative unknown, “PQD” still believes he can advance past Sandro in the tournament.

“Let’s leave the pressure of winning with Marlon,” da Silva told Sherdog.com. “He’s more experienced and doesn’t have anything to prove, and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to fight him. I promise to give my all. I have the responsibility to show the crowd what I’ve been training. I wanted this opportunity to fight in the U.S. so badly, and now I know I can shine in Bellator. I believe it will be the best fight in the tournament.”

Beginning his career at lightweight in 2008, da Silva quickly ran up a 5-1 record. However, following back-to-back losses to in 2009, the carioca opted to move down the scale, where he has since recorded stoppage wins over such fellow prospects as Iliarde Santos and Rony “Jason.”

At Renovacao, da Silva trains under team leader and luta livre legend Marcio Cromado, as well as onetime Anderson Silva muay thai coach Daniel Woirin and Luciano Azevedo, the only man who has beaten UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo. Thanks to his work at RFT, da Silva considers himself a complete fighter, one who is ready to go wherever the fight takes him.

“I’ve acquired a lot of experience here in Brazil, and a very versatile game,” explained da Silva. “When my opponents start to study me, they think I don’t have a ground game because I’m from luta livre, and they always try to take me down, but I defend. Then they try to strike with me, and that’s my game, so I go for the knockout. If they do take me down, I’m ready to submit them. I’m very mature and ready to fight at a higher level.”

Outside of the cage, da Silva supplements his income with work as a martial arts instructor and motorcycle taxi driver. In May, as he arrived home around 11:30 p.m. from another day of work that began at 6 a.m., da Silva was surprised to be greeted by an army officer working for the Rio government’s “Pacified Communities” program.

According to da Silva, the officer started yelling at him, asking what he was doing out on the streets so late.

“I was talking on the phone with my fiancee when [the officer] pressed me against a wall,” said da Silva. “The guy started choking me with the hood of my jacket, like we do in jiu-jitsu. When he stopped, I asked if he wanted to see my documents, and he slapped my face.”

Da Silva sought out one of the officer’s superiors, who recognized the fighter from television. After three hours of waiting, an attendant told da Silva that there was no one available to help him at 4 a.m. and advised him to return the following day.

“They thought I wouldn’t go back, but I did,” da Silva said. “Another officer recognized me and said they were going to take action, but on the same day the guy who attacked me was working normally. I got scared and needed to sleep at my mom’s place for a few days, wondering what he could do to me.”

With the situation now in the past, da Silva wants only to draw strength from the terrible experience.

“I couldn’t train for a few days. Cromado was really angry about that episode,” said da Silva, “but now it’s in the past and I’m 100-percent focused on my Bellator debut. Maybe it was something I needed to experience in order to get stronger for the chance of my life. I need to focus my energies only on that, and I’m very confident.”

Colin Foster contributed to this report.
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