ONE Fighting Championship have a policy of recruiting fighters who are already champions in their own right and so Singapore based Brazilian Alex SIlva was an obvious addition to the flyweight roster.
He is one of a number of BJJ world champions on the payroll at Evolve MMA and made a successful start to his MMA career last September, posting a first round submission win over top Thai Judoka Suchat Lukamkuha at DARE Championship 2/11 in Bangkok.
He is likely of face a stiffer test of his cage fighting credentials in Jakarta when he takes on Team Lakay's Geje Eustaquio at the BritAma Arena on February 11th. The Filipino is a Wushu fighter who has a professional MMA record of 2-1 with his only loss a dubious split decision.
Silva started out with Capoeira and Kung Fu before taking up BJJ at the age of 16 after watching Royce Gracie win UFC 1. He was awarded his black belt in 2007 and is now a veteran of over 300 BJJ matches who has finished first, second (twice) and third at the Mundials.
Now living and training at Evolve MMA, which is widely regarded as the number one mixed martial arts academy in Asia, Silva credits BJJ with completely changing his life,
"I am living my dream right now. I was born to fight, it's in my blood and I feel blessed. It has been a long hard road but I love BJJ and I devoted my entire life to it. I come from a poor family but I always had big dreams that I would fight MMA one day, now I am fighting for the biggest promotion in all of Asia."
It is an interesting match up because it pits Evolve MMA in Singapore against Team Lakay in the Philippines. While the former boasts world renowned fighters such as Rafael Dos Anjos and Shinya Aoki in its ranks the latter focuses exclusively on local Filipino fighters, who tend to have a background in Wushu.
"He's very tough with great skills and he's from Team Lakay one of the top MMA camps in Asia. Chatri has a lot of respect for them and he tells me every day to be ready for a very tough war. Chatri has me focused on my skills, he has a game plan for me and I will follow it. I am ready for anything."
It is no secret that Silva's skills are primarily submission based but there can be few better place for him to improve his stand up than Evolve MMA. He has been working tirelessly to become a better striker and believes the results will be there for all to see on February 11th,
"I work a lot with Daorung Sityodtong and Kongtoranee Payakaroon Sityodtong, they are very technical and I have learned so much from them. By learning from world champions I know that I am getting the best knowledge and I hope to show some of my new skills in the cage."
ONE FC has a very competitive flyweight division which contains world class fighters such as Andrew Leone and Roy Docyogen, Eustaquio's team mate who has an outstanding 9-0 professional record. There will be no easy fights for Silva who admits that he is very much a novice when it comes to MMA,
"I am still a beginner in MMA because I've only had 1 fight. At Evolve we have world champions in every discipline so my progress has been very fast. I learn so much every day, we have the best coaches here and they push me. Chatri helps me a lot with my Muay Thai, BJJ, and MMA."
The UFC has only just introduced a flyweight division and fans will soon find out that what the little guys lack in size they more than make up for with fast and frantic action. Being based in Asia ONE FC has access to a deep talent pool of 125 lbs fighters and with his world class submission skills Silva will be looking to show that he is good enough to compete with the best of them.