Alex “Little Rock” Silva is focused on becoming a titleholder in ONE Championship, but first, he needs to state his case for a title shot. He plans to do that in his upcoming fight at Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Negara.
Nearly a year removed from his last bout, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Champion will step back into the cage on Friday, 10 February, to battle former PBF Super Flyweight Champion Roy “The Dominator” Doliguez in a strawweight showdown at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS.
“Fans can expect me to go for the win,” the 34-year-old Brazilian states. “Doliguez is just someone in the way of what I want.”
Though the Evolve MMA product is steadily improving his skills alongside other BJJ and Muay Thai world champions in Singapore, the long road to his martial arts glory began in South America.
A native of Ubatuba, Brazil, Silva grew up as the youngest in his family. He had a very eager interest in martial arts as a child, but became obsessed with BJJ immediately upon seeing one of his countrymen use the gentle art to win fights.
“I was very young when I started to know about martial arts, which was primarily from watching Bruce Lee movies,” Silva says. “From a very young age, I equated sports with martial arts. I did a little bit of kung fu and capoeira, and only became fascinated with BJJ when I saw Royce Gracie finish off his much bigger opponents. I signed up at Liga Jiu-Jitsu one week after.”
Ever since learning the submission discipline, his life has changed dramatically. In fact, he says he owes everything he has to martial arts and BJJ.
In 2007, he was awarded his black belt, and has since become a second-degree expert in the discipline. Along the way, he won a slew of national and regional titles, none bigger than becoming a Copa do Mundo World Champion.
Soon thereafter, his dear friend Leandro “Brodinho” Issa convinced him to relocate to Singapore, and recruited him to teach at Evolve MMA alongside the rest of the gym’s all-star cast of black belts. Not only has his coaching helped the students, but it has also helped him become a better athlete overall.
“Coaching students on a daily basis helps so much,” he explains. “I reassess techniques to make it easy to understand for my students. For example, even after 18 years, I can still find ways to improve basic chokes.
“I may be a black belt, but coaching enables me to keep up to date with the evolution of BJJ and MMA, so I can better impart those skills to my students.”
Silva was also at the perfect place to build his MMA career and add new skills to his already formidable skill set. He made his professional debut in 2011 at a small show in Thailand, where he won successfully with a rear-naked choke.
Though he fell in his ONE debut, he bounced back in a major way. He consecutively defeated three of the wushu-savvy Catalan brothers, all with different submissions.
“They are more similar than different — equally tough and with similar styles,” Silva offers. “The last Catalan I fought was the hardest, maybe because I had already beaten his two brothers, so he was not too happy about that.”
“Little Rock” may not be fighting another Catalan in his upcoming bout, but like them, his next opponent Roy Doliguez represents the Philippines.
Doliguez, an ex-boxer who once held the PBF Super Flyweight Title, brings a respectable 6-3 record to the cage. Though he has yet to garner a win under the ONE banner, he has faced top-notch competition, including Japanese flyweight contender Riku Shibuya and Silva’s teammate, former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke for the inaugural title.
“He has a strong standup game, but I believe I will be able to defeat him,” Silva says, confidently. “I have the better grappling skills by far, but I have also significantly improved my striking and kicking, thanks to my training with Dejdamrong.”
After this match, Silva wants to remain as active as possible, and soon he wants to make a push towards fighting undefeated ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito.”
“The ideal is three or four fights each year. That will allow me to balance fighting and training camps,” the Brazilian explains, before stating his primary goal. “I want to be a ONE World Champion for sure. I am confident I have the skills to achieve that.”