Legacy Fighting Championship 22 – Bruno Bastos

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Bruno Bastos is well known in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a successful competitor from the acclaimed Nova Uniao school. Bastos (1-4) has dabbled in mixed martial arts in the past, and returns to the cage at Legacy Fighting Championship 22 in Lubbock, TX, when he takes on Gabriel Garcia (4-8). On paper, both fighters records are losing ones; however when you consider Bastos’ pedigree and the duration of Garcia’s career, having fought in 1999, and having competed in promotions such as WEC, King of the Cage and Ring of Fire, it becomes a more interesting matchup than at face value.

If you aren’t familiar with Bruno Bastos’ BJJ achievements, there are many, with some of the recent ones being IBJJF no-gi world champion at Absolute and Ultra Heavy (2012), IBJJF pro league silver medalist (2012) and IBJJF Pan-American Champion (2012). Bastos was born in his native Brazil, but now resides in Midland, TX where he has a school,

“I first came to the U.S. in 2008 for the No-Gi Worlds; I placed second, and did some local tournaments in Texas. I have a friend from Travis Lutter’s school (Legacy: American BJJ player, former UFC fighter and winner of TUF 4), who I met as he was dating one of my students. We became close friends, and he brought me out here in 2008 to do a seminar and help Travis with his fight. I came back in 2009 to fight in the Worlds, and a guy in Dallas was looking for an instructor for his school, so I started working there. In 2011, we finished the deal, and I was offered a partnership in Midland to teach there. It was a good move for me.”

For many people moving from overseas to the U.S., they find it a culture shock, as can be moving to a small town, but Bastos speaks warmly and positively about Midland, TX,

“Midland is my home now. A lot of people who come into the gym now tell me they didn’t think I was going to stay for more than a few months and leave, or they thought it was an affiliate school and I didn’t teach here, but as I have been here for a while, people realize that isn’t the case. Here is my whole life. A lot of people who live in small towns want to go big and live in the city, and I’m from the city. I’m happy to live in a smaller town. My wife and I are expecting our first baby in September; it’s nice to be here. Whatever you want to do, it’s here.”

Bastos had his first three MMA fights in 2005 and 2006, losing all three, with a win and loss in 2012, when he started competing in MMA again. His last loss in 2006 was to a fighter who is now very famous, the UFC’s Rousimar Palhares (14-5) in what was Palhares’ first professional fight.

“Back then, it was a political decision. One of my students was going to fight, and his opponent didn’t show up. I didn’t have much money at that time, so I agreed to fight if they paid me that much. I went to the sports store and bought a mouthpiece and we fought.”

Having fought Palhares with no notice, Bastos is doing things differently now. He’s preparing for his fight and confident about his training,

“I’m feeling good. I still have five to six weekends to go. I have two guys from Brazil training here, and it’s great to have some good training partners to work with. King Mo may come to help after he is finished with his fight.  I have to start my diet. That’s all part of the game, but not a fun part; also my conditioning training starts as well.”

Athletes who do well in one combat discipline, are often able to adapt more successfully than others to another. Bastos doesn’t have hard and fast plans to be a mixed martial arts champion, and will see what happens with this fight,

Bastos 01“I’ll wait to see how it goes. If it goes well, I will compete more; I’m not in it with the main aim of becoming a champion. By fighting, I get experience, and that helps me make my students better fighters inside the cage and on the mats as well. I believe what you do in the cage reflects your personality, and it’s a challenge for me. I’ve worked with some successful fighters, such as King Mo, Co Cop and other top names; I feel that I can be a better coach for them.”

Nova Uniao, which translates as New Union, is an extremely successful school formed from two academies from the Rio de Janeiro state led by André Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander. They have had many successful BJJ and MMA competitors, and are well known for working with financially poor youths.  Bruno Bastos has maintained this tradition, having benefitted himself when he was young,

“When I started in my day, I was ten years old. My mother paid for my brother and I to start, but couldn’t pay for us to carry on.  We wanted to train, and ‘Luizinho’ Luiz Herminio paid for us. He paid for all our membership, taking part in tournaments, and when I became eighteen, he opened a school where I could teach. It made a huge difference to me and to my life. For me, it was very clear I needed to pay back in life the good fortunes I had. I was charging adults to train but didn’t charge kids, so that they could have the opportunity. Today I have a black belt teaching there, and I have paid for kids to come here and compete. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to do that. I’m still helping them. I don’t feel that I have to do it. It’s a pleasure for me to do it. Most of us in Nova Uniao come from a similar situation, and we understand when people need opportunities.”

For someone who has achieved a great deal in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bruno Bastos is sure to give his thanks to those who have helped him along the way.

“I’d like to thank my sponsors, Jaime Barron Immigration Law Group, Bold Energy, Fight Fetish, Aggro Brand, Jenni Larson from Oss Arizona Physical Therapy, James Brown from Core Chiropractic And Rehabilitation, FighterTech Supplements, Giulliano Massaras Conditioning Training, Gustavo Dantas Mental Skills Training; also thank to all my students at Bastos BJJ Midland, my affiliate schools at Bruno Bastos BJJ Association and my team Nova Uniao USA.; my teammates back in Brazil, Leo Santos, Jose Aldo, Marlon Sandro, Thales Leites and Claudia Gadelha for the friendship; my masters Wendell Alexander and Andre Pederneiras; and to end up, my brother Rico Bastos, sister Bianca Bastos, parents Aladin Cruz & Olinda Bastos, and my lovely wife, Petya Bastos, who is waiting for our first baby, Joao Lucas, who will be born in September.


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  1. Oskari says:

    The best of the luck. Maybe I come to visit you one day in Texas.

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