Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida has already overcome some dangerous heavyweights in his burgeoning MMA career, but he’ll face an entirely new threat in his next outing.
This Friday, August 26, the 17-time BJJ World Champion will battle elite wrestler Kirill Grishenko on the main card of ONE on Prime Video I: Moraes vs. Johnson II, which airs live from Singapore in U.S. primetime.
The legendary grappler has dealt with different styles in each of his bouts to date, but he knows the former ONE Interim Heavyweight World Title challenger will be a different beast.
“[Grishenko] comes from wrestling. I come from jiu-jitsu. I’m a fighter. I’m driven by challenges, and that’s something that motivates me.
“I’ve faced a striker before. I fought another [BJJ] black belt, but he’s going to be the first wrestler, so it’s going to be an interesting fight. It’s a challenge I’ve been wanting. I wanted to face a guy who defends takedowns well to test me, so I think it will be pretty cool.”
Almeida has been absolutely dominant since making his MMA debut last year, posted three straight first-round finishes in ONE Championship.
All of those wins came from “Buchecha’s” ability to get things on the ground, and he expects Grishenko to do everything possible to steer clear of the same fate.
The Brazilian said:
“He’ll want to keep the fight standing up and avoid my jiu-jitsu. But it’s MMA, it’s not a grappling match, so both of us will be prepared for anything.”
Buchecha Confident After ‘Perfect’ Fight Camp At ATT
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida has been working alongside elite coaches and training partners in every area of mixed martial arts to ensure that he can become a well-rounded competitor.
Kirill Grishenko will pose a tough test at ONE on Prime Video 1, but the Brazilian grappling icon feels like his work at American Top Team in Florida has prepared him to deal with the Belarusian in every range.
“The training has been perfect. I’ll arrive very well prepared for the fight. Katel Kubis has been helping me [with Muay Thai] since the day I arrived at ATT. Boxing training I’m doing with Ivan Oliveira, who is a big name in Brazilian boxing.
“Wrestling I’m practicing with Steve Mocco. I’m not afraid to fight wrestlers because I train with one of the biggest legends of wrestling in the United States. He gives me a lot of confidence, my wrestling has evolved a lot since I arrived at ATT.
“[But] if I can’t take the fight to the ground, that’s no problem because I’m used to training with the best strikers. I’m feeling very comfortable in all aspects of the fight.”
Still, the margins for error are very small at the top level of heavyweight MMA.
With that in mind, “Buchecha” knows he must be on point for every second of Friday’s match or he’ll risk suffering his first defeat.
But while his opponent certainly has big knockout power, the 32-year-old Brazilian remains confident and is eager to continue his impressive run of stoppage wins.
“What makes [Grishenko] dangerous is that he’s a heavyweight and he’s got a 4-ounce glove on his hand. But I’m also a heavyweight and I have the same glove on my hand. And that’s it. At heavyweight, one blow can decide the fight, so neither he nor I can go wrong.
“I think it will be a fight where whoever has the best strategy and follows the plan will do well. In a perfect world, I win with a finish in the first round, like all my fights so far. That’s the goal.”