WSOF 6 Primer: Longtime Fighter Fabio Mello Looking to Make it 8 in a Row This Saturday
abio Mello made his mixed martial arts debut way back in June 9, 2001 in his home country of Brazil, finishing his opponent by first-round TKO. It was the beginning of a storied career that saw him competing all over the world in organizations such as Pride FC, Bellator and Titan Fighting Championship, facing opponents that include Charles “Crazyhorse” Bennett, Sam Aziz, Takanori Gomi, Fredson Piaxao, Vinicius Magalhaes and top pound-for-pound contender and UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Though he only has 17 professional bouts on his record during his almost 13-year career (something he attributes to poor management), he boasts a respectable 11-6 record, with seven of those 11 wins coming before the final bell. His TKO loss to Gomi is the only time he’s ever been finished.
Currently, the 38-year-old Blackzilians member is riding a 7-fight win streak – the longest of his career – going into his World Series of Fighting debut against 29-year-old undefeated Nick Lobosco at WSOF 6: Burkman vs. Carl. Neither fighter has fought in more than a year. He’ll be conceding a five and a half inch height advantage to the 5’10” Lobosco, though what he lacks in reach he certainly makes up for in grasp; Lobosco is only about to enter his fourth year competing.
Mello, who shares with his Brazilian countrymen an athletic passion for soccer, was gracious enough to set aside some time to speak with me before his bout this Saturday, during which time we discussed his continued love for the sport, his optimistic outlook on the future, where he’s been for the last year and why one of his favorite things is being the first person to beat an undefeated fighter.
You are undefeated in your last seven fights. Is there anything that you’ve been doing differently than before? What can you credit your seven-fight win streak to?
I changed a couple things in my game. I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Before, I was trying to strike a lot, you know. Now I changed my game to wrestling, more a wrestling/jiu-jitsu game but I’m still working hard on my stand up.
Now, you haven’t fought in more than a year. I remember reading that you attributed it to bad management that you went so long between fights. Is that the case this time? Why haven’t you fought in a year?
I’m one year and a half without fights because I had surgery on my knee – on my left knee’s ACL – one year ago, and now I’m ready to come back strong.
How is your knee feeling?
Now my knee is 100 percent. It feels better than the other one.
Do you still train at the Blackzilian camp?
How is it over there?
I have high level partners, you know. Eddie Alvarez, JZ (Cavalcante), Alexandre (Cosmo)… I’m blessed to have these guys work with me and my gym, I think it’s the best gym in Florida.
Your opponent Nick Lobosco is undefeated in six fights and he appears to be well-rounded. Have you been training specifically for him?
No. I keep training the same. I train hard every day, everything. We are ready to have it, you know. I think he’s undefeated but for me, it doesn’t matter. I know he’s a tough guy. I think the same about every opponent: tough guys who try to work hard for this, you know.
This won’t be the first time you’ll be facing an undefeated opponent. Do you like being the person to beat someone who is undefeated?
Oh yeah, man. This is nice, to have a chance to fight with an undefeated guy. You can be the first one, right? Yeah, I like it.
You’ve been in this sport a long time. Do you have a favorite achievement?
Oh man… It’s been a long time, you know. It’s 16 years. I started young. Not too young, 25 years old. I feel my best moments are right now. I’m 38. I think I can fight more here, fight with high-level guys. I feel very good right now.
South Florida is a really great place for soccer fans. My roommate is an enormous soccer fan – he spends entire days just catching up on “footy.” Do you follow any of the local sports, living down here?
I like soccer a lot. I wanted to play soccer in Brazil. Now… no, I don’t follow it. Now I train a lot. When I’m at home, I can watch on TV. I like American football.
Who’s your favorite team?
I like Cincinnati. The tigers. The Bengals.
How has your experience been, working with the World Series of Fighting? Is it different fighting for someone who he himself is a fighter in Ray Sefo?
Yeah. I think this show, World Series, it’s gonna be like Bellator or UFC soon. Because those guys, the promoters, those guys have a lot of potential to keep the show getting better fast.
Yeah, I think they’re doing a great job and it’s a great organization, too. Is there anything else that you’d like to say? Anything you’d like your fans to know, going into this fight?
I’d like to say to my fans, my friends, my family, my team, I’d like to say thank you for good vibrations and I’m going to do my best. I’m going to finish the best by my career, you know, I feel very good. My best time is right now and I’m going to put everything right there inside the cage for you guys. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Fabio Mello will be fighting on the prelims of World Series of Fighting 6: Burkman vs. Carl this Saturday, October 26 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, FL. Tickets start at $25. Watch the prelims streaming online at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and the main card on NBC at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
(All photos are used courtesy of Sherdog.com)