By Caoilte de Barra
The MMA SuperCup has been a spectacle so far with athletes from across the World battling it out in Bahrain. Many new faces have emerged in the competition and one that has stood is BJJ Black Belt Bianca Basilio, who was representing Bahrain.
Basilio is held in high regard on the grappling circuit holding an outstanding number of accolades including multiple IBJJF World Championship medals and ADCC World Championships to name a few. Following her success in grappling she has opted to try her hand at MMA, competing on the opening day of the SuperCup submitting Shohona Ghozoeva in the opening round via armbar. After her fight she reflected on her performance with great joy.
“It was incredible, I felt very good in the fight, I was strong and I gave all that I had in the fight and my strategy. I was ready to take anything that came in my direction as well. I don’t know how to explain the feeling very well, but maybe that is the best description. I felt light and fast like a bullet ready to hit the target.”
Basilio’s journey through martial arts started from her father putting his energy into encouraging her and her brother. While rising in the Jiu Jitsu ranks she did not consider the switch to MMA, however, that all changed following some reflection and a conversation at her father’s house.
“At first this was always my father’s dream, I remember that we stayed up until dawn waiting to watch the main UFC fights because we didn’t have cable TV to watch all the fights. My father always wanted to be a fighter but life took him to another path in his youth and so he put all his energy into encouraging my brother and me. We started a Jiu Jitsu social project aimed at children in the community with Professor Diogo Almeida and after a few months we won a scholarship at the Almeida Jiu Jitsu academy to train with his brother Caio Almeida who formed us into black belts. My father always considered the possibility that I was migrating to MMA but before I didn’t feel it was the moment “because I was building my career in Jiu Jitsu, until in 2020 when the pandemic started.
“I rethought many things about my personal life and career. In a meeting at my father’s house where we were talking about MMA, I decided that same day that I would start training to compete and I started boxing training with Leo Moraes in January 2021. I started training mma with professor Udi Lima, former professional wrestler. Today, this is already part of me and I want to keep training to evolve and become a complete fighter just like I am in Jiu Jitsu.”
The hard work she put into transitioning paid off as she entered the cage for the first time at the SuperCup, an amaeture competition at a level higher than she could imagine.
“I didn’t imagine that there was such a professional Amateur event like this one of MMA, an event that values athletes, the opportunity for new talents and with an impeccable structure. As an athlete I felt very well taken care of and safe to do my job. Not to mention that it was an honor to have the presence of Sheikh beside my coach Udi during the fight.”
When asked about if she aims to take the MMA world by storm like she did in grappling, the answer was simple.
“Absolutely. I like to overcome myself looking for new challenges and I know that in MMA it will not be different from everything I’ve experienced as an athlete in Jiu Jitsu. I will dedicate myself to being the best at what I do and it will always be that way.”
Representing Bahrain means Basilio joins the likes of amateur World Champions Sabrina De Sousa and Aieza Ramos Bertozo along with the rest of the team, an experience she describes fondly.
“With the girls, it was a great experience, they are brave, they are good people and bring a positive energy. The whole team welcomed me very well with open arms and little by little communication was improving although almost no one spoke the same language, but everyone was always well focused, united and well trained to fight. And it was also great to meet Coach Eldar and Coach Sharap who did an excellent job with everyone on the team to represent the country Bahrain.”
Photo Credit: @Photographer.Mamod