Alessandro ‘Zoio’ Ferreira

January 3, 2012

If you have ever tried to follow the Brazilian MMA circuit, you know it can be chaotic. The vast, disparate patchwork of professional events play host to a rogue’s gallery of local toughs, fiery young UFC hopefuls and veterans who have achieved “grizzled” status in their 20′s. Sao Paulo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Alessandro Ferreira (10-1, 1 NC) is an eclectic mix of all three.

Beginning as a professional in 2006, “Zoio” won multiple one-night, eight-man tournaments early in his career before being called up in 2010 to televised promotions Jungle Fight and Predador Fighting Championship. His run to the top in those events was derailed, however, by another chaotic force in Brazil: the officiating. A routine guard slam against Johil de Oliveira at Jungle Fight 22 was somehow ruled an illegal spike worthy of declaring the fight a no-contest, much to the crowd’s derision. If that weren’t enough, Ferreira was robbed blind at Predador 16, dropping a decision to Team Nogueira prospect Roberto Amorim after appearing to win all three rounds comfortably.

Bad luck aside, Alessandro has been virtually unstoppable. His superlative submission skills can end a fight quicky, but Zoio is dangerous anywhere. Huge slams and buckling low kicks litter his highlight reel, and he has the savvy to string together dazzling combinations of technique. Most recently he shocked 2011′s #1 lightweight selection Thiago Michel by chopping Michel’s lead leg out with an inside low kick, then taking his back as he fell in one fluid motion. The pro-Michel crowd had no time to rally before their champion was tapping to a rear naked choke.

After years of splitting time between Showtime Jiu Jitsu in Sao Paulo and Chute Boxe in Curitiba, Zoio tired of the travel time and expense the arrangement entailed. He took a respite in early 2011 before making the move to the San Francisco Bay Area, setting up shop as an instructor for Team Cesar Gracie. He chose an ideal environment to work on his one noticable deficiency: boxing technique. The team is home to Richard Perez, boxing coach to Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz.

With one of the top pro camps in America backing him, Ferreira should finally get the opportunities he deserves in 2012. A December M-1 Challenge match with Bao Quach on Showtime would have been a good start, but an unspecified injury took Alessandro off the card. M-1 is rumoured to return to Showtime in 2012, so hopefully a make-up date for that bout can be set in the new year

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