Rodolfo Vieira Comments on First MMA Loss: ‘Anybody could submit me there in that situation’

On Saturday, July 17, jiu-jitsu specialist Rodolfo Vieira returns to MMA action when he takes on Dustin Stoltzfus at UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Moises. It will be Vieira’s first fight since suffering his first MMA defeat, a stunning submission loss to the relatively unheralded Anthony Hernandez at UFC 258. On Wednesday, Vieira fielded questions from the media and spoke about his last performance, as well as his upcoming bout against Stoltzfus.

“It was very hard but I lost before in jiu-jitsu, so this time was not different. The defeat made me even better,” Vieira said through a translator about his last fight. In that bout, Vieira looked strong early, even gaining the mount position on Hernandez. But once Hernandez was able to escape, Vieira appeared to be exhausted. For the next few minutes, he ate strikes from Hernandez before succumbing to a guillotine choke in the second round. It was a massive upset.

“I was not expecting to be submitted like that, but I was so exhausted, so tired, that anybody could submit me there in that situation,” said Vieira.

“I was too anxious to finish the fight early… my mind just went to a place where I lost mentally in that moment… I tried to get better in all the aspects of my game, especially mentally and also my cardio.”

Now just eight fights into his professional career, Vieira might be the most accomplished jiu-jitsu player currently competing in MMA. He is an ADCC champion and a five-time IBJJF black belt world champion. He is still finding his footing in MMA, though, and he’s doing it at the highest level, competing in the UFC.

“I needed to learn how to like being inside the cage,” he said. “That was something that I never liked. I did seven fights there and never felt comfortable inside the Octagon, so I had to practice…

“I feel I can be very good in this sport, that’s why I keep trying. Overcoming that fear of being inside the cage, it was hard to get there, but it was better after I overcame that fear to be inside the Octagon.”

How to watch: UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Moises takes place on Saturday, July 17 and airs live on ESPN and ESPN+ (subscription required) beginning at 7 PM EST.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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