by Ivan Canello – MMAWeekly.com
personal strength and conditioning trainer, Rafael Alejarra
(Photos courtesy of www.mmaconditioning.net)
MMAWeekly’s Ivan Canello recently
caught up with Wanderlei Silva’s personal strength and conditioning trainer,
Rafael Alejarra. Besides Silva, he has or does also train the likes of Antonio Rodrigo
and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Robert Drysdale, an Phil
Baroni, among others.
Alejarra discussed the recent
performance of Jacare at the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix, where he won his
opening round bout, Silva’s upcoming fight with Keith Jardine at UFC 84,
training mixed martial artists, and more.
MMAWeekly.com: What did you think
about the Jacare’s fight in the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix?
Rafael Alejarra: I think Jacare is a
complete athlete, even without too much experience in big events. But I am
sure that he came to stay. About the fight, everything went exactly how we
predicted. Thanks to God, Jacare was strong, explosive and with his technique
at a very high level. Because of this, it happened exactly the way we wanted.
MMAWeekly: How was the preparation? Was there
anything special to this fight since the opponent changed a few days before the
Alejarra: No, in fact, we don’t
train for this or that opponent. We train for any kind of opponent, and we
had to be well prepared for all situations possible in one fight. Fortunately,
we had a positive result.
MMAWeekly: Will Jacare keep the
relationship going with you and during Wanderlei’s training?
Alejarra: Yes, he’ll go to Brazil to
see his girlfriend and soon he will come to Vegas and will join us to start the
training again and help Wanderlei for his next fight.
MMAWeekly: Talking about Wanderlei,
he is going to face a bigger opponent on May 24 in Keith Jardine, maybe a
stronger opponent. How do you see that?
Alejarra: To be honest, Jardine is
taller, but I don’t think he is stronger than Wanderlei. When a fighter is
bigger, it doesn’t always mean that he is stronger. Wanderlei has good training
partners and some excellent sparring, some of them even taller then Jardine. We
have planned well.
MMAWeekly: Some time ago, we heard
that Wanderlei could drop weight and fight at 185 pounds, is this a
Alejarra: We are waiting for the
natural process. We cannot say anything about that yet.
MMAWeekly: The MMA media has been talking about
you training several MMA athletes. Who are the athletes that are working
Alejarra: I am training Phil Baroni,
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Robert Drysdale, and soon I will start Gabriel “Napao”
Gonzaga’s workout, and of course Wanderlei’s preparation, which is the reason
for everything that has happened in my career.
MMAWeekly: The workout for MMA is
getting more and more scientific and some new coaches are entering
the sport. What do you think is necessary to be a good conditioning coach, to
be better than the others?
Alejarra: He will need to study
every single day, open his eyes to new techniques and, on top of this, search
new ways of training. Even if the training looks odd in the beginning, if they
use scientific fundamentals, it will be efficient in MMA. All the training must
have, besides the practical, the physiological basis.
MMAWeekly: You have been in Cuba
recently and in a few weeks you are going to Russia. How was it in Cuba
and how did you decide to go to Russia?
Alejarra: Wanderlei is always
searching for the best training, and by that he wants the best for me. So he
said to me that I will always travel to places where I can learn something to
add on to his training. I am very happy to have a boss like him. By that, I
have the opportunity to grow as a sport scientist.
Today, I am studying a new training
called HIPOXIA, which consist in a few words in a hard training with low demand
of oxygen. This kind of training is developed in other sports and I am bringing
it to MMA. It’s a very hard type of training because the athlete must tolerate
a huge quantity of lactic acid in the blood.
I have made some tests with
Wanderlei and brought it to Brazil and presented to a board with Masters of
Exercise Biochemistry and the results of the study were that the athlete
had a great increase in conditioning of the aerobic and anaerobic (energy
MMAWeekly: Recently you started a new website. Do you plan
to use this website to be in touch with athletes, trainers and fans?
Of course, the website is to spread the basis of training in MMA and also to be
in contact with athletes, trainers and MMA fans. It will be a honor to talk to
everyone. I will try to respond as fast as I can. Please visit www.mmaconditioning.net and feel free
to send me messages.