Two years ago, still in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Pedro Marinho was a newcomer to the purple belt giving a hard time at training to champion Felipe Pena, who would become absolute champion of ADCC 2017. In the following years the life of the young 22-year-old athlete has changed. Pedro embarked for California, in the United States, to play more expressive championships and, consequently, put his career on another level. This yielded great results.
Pedro became a no-gi world champion and Pan champion of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), two medals that crowned his phase stage in the purple belt, where he had dominated in Brazil the Brazilian Championship with and without gi. The good performances earned him a place as an instructor at Gracie Barra Westchase and the brown belt, from the hands of his teacher Felipe Preguiça. All this at the end of the 2017/2018 season.
With the new graduation and the tougher challenges, Pedro was able to maintain the same competitive level. Last weekend in New York, at the No-Gi Pan, he was again absolute champion and a heavyweight silver medalist after finishing in 6 of 7 fights overall. The great performance earned Pedro an invitation to compete at ADCC 2019 this weekend in Anaheim, California. Though he was summoned just a week before the event, he is not intimidated and wants to surprise in the 88kg division.
“It turned out to be one of the best surprises of my life,” he said, “because fighting at the ADCC is a dream come true for every athlete. I couldn’t fight at the trials because I’m living in the United States and I had to apply for my visa, which makes it impossible for me to leave the country while the process is going on. Sad as it is that you can’t fight in Brazil, just keep working hard. Last weekend I fought at the No-Gi Pan and ended up winning the absolute, where I finished most of my fights, between heavyweight and absolute. Funny that, on the night of this very day, Preguiça and Sérvio Tulio texted me saying that the possibility had arisen for me to fight at the ADCC. There was nothing guaranteed, but the ADCC president had texted them asking about me. I couldn’t even sleep that night and the next day I received the email and Mo Jassim called to confirm the invitation to fight in the 88kg category. I would never refuse such an invitation, even if I’m been called just a week in advance.”
Although young, Pedro has experience fighting under ADCC rules, having already fought in a Kasai Pro trial, a match-fighting tournament under the ADCC rules, and he even beat black belts like Vinicius Tracor. An owner of strong chokes, next the young star details how having a finishing game could take him far in the tournament.
“Really, the guillotine is one of my strengths. It’s a position that I like to practice a lot and whenever I see some space I attack. I always like to attack, all the time; the important thing is to finish. Man, I really believe I was invited to the ADCC for my fighting style and I think I will have a long life in this event. I adjusted some missing parts in my game, which is the guard, along with teachers Ulpiano Malachias and Inácio Neto. I had been training a lot in wrestling with Professor Servando Almaraz at Gracie Barra Westchase. I had the experience of fighting the Kasai Pro trials and the main event GP; it was a unique experience that gave me an idea of what an ADCC would feel like, for real. I had to watch out for the heel hooks and I tested myself with some black belts. I can barely wait for the weekend.”