The man that can currently lay claim to being the “absolute” best no-gi grappler in the business due to the fact that he took home the prestigious 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Absolute Division Championship along with the 88-kilogram title is all set to make his initial venture into the world of mixed martial arts.
Braulio Estima, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, will face off with the undefeated Rick Hawn (4-0), a decorated Judo practitioner, at Shine Fights “Worlds Collide: Mayorga vs. Thomas”.
The pair are set to square off on May 15 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Estima heads up the Gracie Barra Academy in Birmingham, England, and has spent time training alongside Renzo Gracie, while Hawn is a multiple champion in Judo where he placed ninth in the 2009 Olympic Games.
“I’ve seen a couple of fights and he’s a tough kid,” said Estima in regards to Hawn. “He’s very strong, very explosive. I’m not expecting an easy fight at all. He’s a top judo player in the world, so he’s an athlete himself. Whoever makes fewer mistakes will win. He already has experience in MMA, 6-0. He has a pretty good advantage in the cage, but I’m going to try work myself in a situation where this won’t affect me.”
Hawn understands that he needs to treat an adversary as potentially dangerous as Braulio with the utmost respect – MMA debut or not – stating,” I’m looking forward to the fight with Estima. Even though he is new to MMA, he has extensive ground skills that will require me to elevate my game. I am more than ready for the challenge. It’s not much of a surprise that I want to keep the fight standing with him if possible. This is MMA though, and anything can happen. Either way, I’m going to be well prepared and take advantage of my experience and strengths.”