Following his victories over Andy Wang and Ferrid Kheder that showcased his ever evolving MMA game, highly decorated BJJ world champion Zorobabel Moreira gained much notoriety with fans and analysts alike. With those impressive performances, 'Zoro' was recently named as one of the top prospects in the world, being ranked as the #7 lightweight on the 2012 World MMA Scouting Report.
It's a good recognition of his achievements so far, but Zoro isn't the type to let those things go to his head. "I don't know (about more people starting to notice me as a fighter). I don't pay much attention to these things. I focus on my training more." he said.
Zoro, who is based in Singapore with his teammates at Evolve MMA, will be fighting on his adopted home town on March 31, at ONE FC 3: Battle of the Lions. His next opponent, as BloodyElbow.com has been told by sources close to the situation, will be Felipe Enomoto, who is coming off that impressive comeback victory over Ole Laursen last February.
Felipe, who will be returning to the cage just 7 weeks from the biggest win of his career at ONE FC 2, has remained active and in-shape, helping his brother, Yasubey Enomoto, for his M-1 Title defense this month. He will have roughly 4 more weeks prepare this fight, and it will be very interesting to see if he can make it with back-to-back wins over two of the top lightweight stars in the region.
"Felipe is a very tough fighter. He submitted Ole Laursen at ONE FC in Jakarta, and I have respect for both fighters. He has a very well-rounded game and does not have any big weaknesses," said Moreira, as he spoke about his opponent. "For sure, I think it will be a very exciting fight for the fans. Chatri will come up with a strategy and game plan for me."
He's referring of course, to Chatri Sityodtong, the head of the famed Evolve MMA gym. One of the more interesting things that came up on the interview, was that while Zoro probably has the best BJJ skills in the division, and he also towers over majority of his opponents with his 6-foot-3 frame, he doesn't consider those as his advantages over the other lightweights.
"My advantage is my team," he exclaimed, "Evolve has everything for me. I train hard. I have the best coaches in the world for everything... Muay Thai, Wrestling, BJJ, MMA, anything."
Much more after the jump including the current fight card for ONE FC 3. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena.
When I flew to Singapore to check out their beautiful gym (photos here), I was able to witness him working with one of the more popular members of the Evolve Fight Team, in Shinya Aoki. Zoro credits the DREAM lightweight champ for helping him out a lot in the recent years.
"We always train hard together. He is a super guy - always helping everybody, always showing us details. I try to help him for BJJ too." Zoro said about his Japanese teammate, "Shinya is the best fighter for sure. He has a very big future. He is one of my best friends on the Evolve Fight Team."
Evolve MMA also added Heath Sims recently, who is a former Olympic wrestler and long time coach of Dan Henderson at Team Quest. Zoro feels like he's making strides with the addition of another high caliber coach to their roster of world champions.
"He is an incredible coach," he says of the former Team Quest mentor, "He is the best. I learn so much from Heath. He is a great professor, with very technical details for wrestling, details for wrestling for MMA. I am so happy."
Zoro has been training with some of the best coaches, and he has already reached the pinnacle of Jiujitsu, gaining all those accolades from that sport. While he still has dreams of reaching the 'big show' of MMA, he's currently eying a title in the stacked lightweight division in Asia.
"I want to fight in the UFC one day." Zoro said, "But first, I want to win the ONE FC championship title belt. This is my dream right now."
On March 31st, he will first have to defeat a fellow rising star in Felipe Enomoto, who will definitely be looking to derail that dream of his.
Here's the current rumored fight card so far:
ONE Fighting Championship 3: Battle of the Lions
March 31, 2012 - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
- Masakazu Imanari vs. Kevin Belingon
- Eduard Folayang vs. Ole Laursen
- Tatsuya Kawajiri
- Melvin Manhoef
- Zorobabel Moreira vs. Felipe Enomoto
- Gregor Gracie
- Eddie Ng
- Yodsanan Sityodtong
- Yuya Shirai
- Kim Hock
- Nicole Chua vs. Jeet Toshi