by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
Andre Pederneiras is the head of Nova Uniao, the team responsible for producing athletes such as Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Thales Leites and Jose Aldo, among others. Two of those fighters, Leites and Aldo, saw action recently fighting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting, respectively.
Although Pederneiras was pleased with both of his fighters’ recent performances, he had some pretty strong opinions on Leites’ bout with Nathan Marquardt at UFC 85 in London, believing that the infractions on Marquardt’s behalf is a recurring issue with the Top 10 ranked middleweight.
MMAWeekly: You’ve traveled a lot recently, going from the WEC to the UFC, with your fighters winning in both events. Which of these performances pleased you the most?
Andre Pederneiras: I think both of them pleased me a lot. One, for Junior’s (Jose Aldo’s) knockout, but the other for Thales’ heroism. Even after having suffered a number of illegal blows, he carried on fighting and won in the end.
MMAWeekly: Is Will Ribeiro one of your fighters? How did Will’s arrival at Nova Uniao come about?
AP: Will is a fighter from Boxe Thai, but he trains here with my guys since there isn’t that many guys at his weight class there. I have this exchange with Boxe Thai because I trained there a long time with Luis Alvez, who is a long-time friend of mine and Muay Thai instructor.
MMAWeekly: You mentioned the illegal blows that Thales received in his fight against Nate Marquardt at UFC 85. Naturally, you are probably unhappy about that. What is your position on the situation? How do you think the referee should have acted under those circumstances?
AP: I think the referee did a good job deducting points from Nathan; he just didn’t react to the last infraction, the piledriver. I think it was because there were only a few seconds left in the fight. I feel that Nathan should have been disqualified; this is not the first time he has committed such an infraction. I remember back when he fought Cachorrao (Ricardo Almeida) for the Pancrase title; Cachorrao choked out Marquardt and he punched him several times after the stoppage. Renzo (Gracie) jumped through the rope and kicked him two or three times for the cowardly move.
MMAWeekly: Do you think the UFC should take some kind of preventive measures to make sure this does not happen in the future?
AP: I think the best punishment is to hit them where it hurts, in the pockets. That’s the only way an athlete will learn.
MMAWeekly: You have been promoting Shooto South America. How is this project coming?
AP: It is growing slowly but surely in a solid way and to me that’s what matters. I want to take years to build an event, but in return I want it to last for the rest of my life in a solid way.
MMAWeekly: What do you intend for the future of Shooto South America?
AP: I want to have champions in every category and put on events throughout South America.
MMAWeekly: Who will be the next Nova Uniao fighter to stand out internationally?
AP: It would be unfair to point out one name. I think the team as a whole has been growing a lot. Ninety percent of my team comes from a jiu-jitsu background and the majority of the fighters are home grown. That motivates me a lot to see a kid who was a jiu-jitsu champion become an MMA champion. That motivates me a lot as a professional; this proves my school is based on good fundamentals and really good techniques for any fighting situation, whether it is jiu-jitsu or MMA.