At UFC 270 on January 22, ultra-accomplished jiu-jitsu specialist Rodolfo Vieira will return to the Octagon when he faces fellow Brazilian Wellington Turman. It will be Vieira’s second fight under the tutelage of Mano Santana, a prominent karate coach to former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.
Speaking to Sherdog.com, Vieira explained the impact that Santana has had on his development into a well-rounded MMA fighter.
“I fought most of my previous fights without a striking coach,” Vieira said. “The move of Mano Santana to Florida was a turning point in my career. In my last fight, he just trained me via video Zoom and WhatsApp, and I had an amazing performance. Last five months we have been training personally almost every day, and karate timing has been excellent to improve not only my striking but also my takedown timing.”
Indeed, in his last bout, Vieira bounced back from a shocking submission loss to Anthony Hernandez with a win over Dustin Stoltzfus in July 2021.
An ADCC world champion and five-time IBJJF world champion, Vieira is one of the most accomplished jiu-jitsu practitioners currently competing in MMA. Vieira intends to use his karate training not only to bolster his striking, but also his takedown game.
“[St-Pierre’s] movement was all based on karate. Besides excellent striking, GSP had the best takedown rating of UFC history, and his karate movement played an important role on that.”
The 32-year old Vieira currently sports a professional MMA record of 8-1, with four of those bouts taking place in the UFC. His opponent, Turman, is a veteran of 22 pro fights and holds a 2-3 UFC record.
How to watch: UFC 270 takes place on Saturday, January 22. Vieira vs. Turman opens up the main card, which can be viewed via ESPN+ pay-per-view.