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Marcos Ratinho: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's most romantic man set to make MMA debut

Marcos Ratinho made headlines throughout the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) world when he proposed to his girlfriend while they were rolling during a class in the UAE. She said "yes" (possibly because the Brazilian was in full mount at the time) but as well as the impending marriage, he is also celebrating having secured a contract with ONE Championship.

He is a BJJ world championship silver medalist who won numerous tournaments at both a national and international level and Ratinho, who will be competing in the 125-pound division, says the time has come to try his hand at mixed martial arts (MMA).

"I've trained with several MMA fighters and helped in camps, but have always had other priorities in life such as work and study. When I joined Evolve MMA in Singapore there are so many champions in boxing and Muay Thai and MMA that I found myself training with them and learning many things every day and now I'm ready to take that next step in life."

Evolve MMA has a proven track record of helping BJJ practitioners transition successfully into MMA and Ratinho is likely to make his professional debut on a ONE Championship event this year. It is a slight change of direction for the Brazilian who left a high profile post in the UAE in order to move to Singapore.

"In UAE I coached the Presidential Guard, had the opportunity to teach Jiu-Jitsu for competition and self-defense to the VIP Protection (Special Force) and other departments of National Defense where we made several champions. It was a great experience and I made many friends over there."

Ratinho has been making a living as a BJJ instructor for many years and says when he started out, the image of the sport was far worse than it is today.

"My older brother always loved martial arts movies so he started training BJJ with some friends from his school and I started in 1999 but I had to hide it from my family as my parents didn't agree with the idea, as BJJ fighters had a bad reputation at that time for fighting in bars or on the street."

Despite these obstacles Ratinho decided to continue training in BJJ and when tragedy struck three years later it only made him more determined to pursue his grappling dreams.

"Me and my brother didn’t stop as he was in love with BJJ and wanted to teach me. He was seven years older than me and when he began teaching me he was 20. Three years later he died and I decided I would keep doing it for him."

The job offer at Evolve MMA came about as a result of Ratinho's close friendship with Herbert Burns and the Brazilian is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the 5-0 ONE Championship featherweight.

"My best friend, Herbert Burns, invited me to visit Evolve MMA and that's how I got the opportunity to meet Chatri Sityodtong and to talk to him about working and training here. Herbert is doing very well in his fighting career and I hope I can do the same because I am learning many things and feeling more comfortable every day with MMA."

Burns is just one of a number of BJJ black belts at Evolve MMA who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the ONE Championship cage with Zorobabel Moreira, Leandro Issa and Leandro Ataides all establishing themselves as among the best in their respective divisions and Ratinho will be hoping his submission skills can help him make a similar impact on Asia's biggest MMA organization.

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