Braulio Estima is set to make his MMA debut on May 15th against Rick Hawn in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Shine Fights “Worlds Collide” Card. The brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, Estima is not taking it easy on his first fight against the undefeated Rick Hawn(6-0). The fight, which is scheduled to take place at a catch weight of 175lbs pits grapplers representing the art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo against each other.
Estima is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black belt, who recently won the -87.9kg and absolute divisions at ADCC 2009 in Barcelona. Along the way to win his divisions, he defeated grappling greats Andre Galvao, Xande Ribeiro, Marcelo Garca, and Rafael Lovato Jr. Some of Estima’s other major accomplishments include ADCC 2007 silver medalist, and IBJJF World Championship Gold medalist in 2004, 2006, and 2009.
Rick Hawn himself is a very talented grappler, and competed at the highest levels in Judo. His accomplishments in judo consist of 9th place 2004 Olympic Games, 2007 World Team member, four-time US national Champion, four-time U.S. Open bronze medalist, and a 2007 Pan-Ams bronze medal. Hawn also is an experienced MMA fighter, finishing 4 of his 6 opponents by TKO/KO in the first round. He has shown in his fights to possess a heavy right hand, which could be a deciding factor as Estima’s stand-up has yet to be seen.
Estima recently stated in an interview with Shine Fights that he is fighting in MMA because he “..always loves challenges”, and that he feels he has the responsibility of representing his art in MMA. The question is will Estima be ready for the more experienced MMA fighter in Hawn? Braulio recently trained in Denver at Grudge with Nate Marquardt and then in Albuquerque with Greg Jackson, and admits the game is different, stating “I feel like a white belt again sometimes.” That being said, he still feels very confident on the ground. Estima intends to take his MMA career as far it will go, dedicating himself to the sport for the next few years. This does not mean we will not continue to see him in grappling competitions. His contract allows him to participate in grappling tournaments, and he intends to compete in the 2010 Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-jitsu Cup on April 19th.
This fight definitely isn’t easing his way into things for Estima, who will have his hands full May 15th against Hawn. It is often debated how well grappling accomplishments translate into MMA. Marcelo Garcia fought a tough opponent in his debut and it doesn’t seem like he will return to the sport. Also other very talented grapplers Antonio Schembri and Saulo Ribeiro had mixed results in MMA. However, for those that had difficulty there are success stories, such as Ronaldo Souza(11-2), Andre Galvao(4-1) who won a close fight against Luke Stewart last night, and Damien Maia(12-1) who is set to fight Anderson Silva for the Middle Weight Title at UFC 112 Invincible on April 10th. We look forward to May 15th to see if Estima can carry his successful momentum in grappling into Mixed Martial Arts.