Smealinho Rama had his shot at the MFC heavyweight title taken away through no fault of his own.
But he didn’t sulk or complain when the opportunity slipped through his fingers due to an opponent’s injury and subsequent canceled fight back in May. After a brief break, Rama was right back to work in preparation for a revamped title shot – a matchup that will be the co-main event for MFC 38: Behind Enemy Lines on Friday, October 4.
“I’m back to business and focused on my title fight,” said ‘The Prince.’
“We expect another perfect training camp ahead of us and that I’ll be bringing the MFC heavyweight belt back to Calgary.”
Ranked 37th in the world by Fight Matrix (www.fightmatrix.com/mma-ranks/heavyweight-265-lbs/), Rama (6-0) has quickly blossomed into one of the top prospects in mixed martial arts, and he didn’t let the unexpectedly long layoff of the canceled title fight diminish his learning curve. In less than eight months he jumped from white to blue and finally onto purple belt status in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under noted instructor Anderson Goncalves.
Honing his submission skills was just part of the extended study sessions while waiting for his next bout. Rama’s opponent will be named shortly, and their clash will share top billing at MFC 38 airing live on AXS TV Fights from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
“I train and take what ever technique I learn, work it, improve it and make it part of my arsenal,” said Rama, who jumped to the No. 1 contender spot thanks to his dominating first-round TKO finish of Mike Hackert at MFC 36.
“I stay in shape as well by doing a lot of cardio, I continue to lift weights and attend strength and conditioning. Not having to worry about a fight right away takes away the stress of thinking and having to deal with all the thoughts and emotional, spiritual, mental and physical challenges.
“I get time to relax and be able to take in and process information there for improving my skill and really make a a lot of improvements.”
It’s an impressively mature outlook from a fighter who is just 21 years of age. But an ardent student, Rama has sponged all the knowledge he can garner from his coaches and keenly set his sights on continually improving.
“Every training camp I finish, I always finish it with a lesson,” explained Rama. “That lesson is what I could have done better. My training camp leading up to my canceled bout on May 10th for MFC 37 was near perfect, and I still managed to walk away from it with an idea of what I can do better.
“This time around, the work I’m going to be doing will have greatly improved to make me a more powerful, durable, explosive and technical fighter. We’re always working on technique and fitness exercises that improve my power, endurance, strength, speed, athleticism, explosion, cardio, and physical durability as well as proper mental preparation.
“We are consistently improving. Not just myself as an athlete but my coaches and training partners both individually and as a team in all aspects of the sports whether its technique or physical capability.”
Rama has physically mowed through his opposition to date, registering all six of his victories via first-round stoppage with none of the fights going past the four-minute mark. The six-foot, 250-pounder also demonstrated a solid all-around game during those wins, scoring three knockouts verdicts and three submission outcomes including the MFC’s 2012 Submission of the Year for a smooth rear-naked choke tapout of Ryan Fortin.
Whomever is next for Rama best beware that despite his youth and soft-spoken nature, there is a very dangerous foe standing across the ring.
“I want the best opponent available out there that will advance me as an athlete and fighter, both in the world rankings and skill wise and as well that will help advance my life as a person, a son, a friend and brother, a training partner and student not just in mixed martial arts but in life itself,” offered Rama.
“We have a game plan for each opponent and we try to stick to that game plan in the ring. But I am always well-prepared in every aspect of the sport so don’t be surprised if I end up knocking out a boxer or submitting a black belt.”
One more knockout or submission and Rama will finally get to strap the MFC’s title belt over his shoulder. It’s a goal he set out for upon signing a new multi-fight deal with the Maximum Fighting Championship, and one he has every intention of fulfilling.
“The MFC title is a prestigious title to hold in the MMA world,” said Rama.
“Winning the MFC heavyweight title would not only put me down in the history books, it would make all my hard work, dedication, hard times and patience worth having to have dealt with and go through.
“It would motivate me and inspire me to continue to get better as a fighter and a human being and it would bring me one step closer to being the #1 heavyweight in the world.”