Getting to Know Gracie Barra's Rafael "Barata" De Freitas
Rafael De Freitas, or as he is more commonly known, “Barata” (Portuguese for ‘cockroach’), sat down with US Combat Sports to talk about his upcoming headliner at Evolution Combat Sports Championships – Friday Night Fights on May 27, 2011.
Barata’s nickname comes from his youth in Brazil, where he played soccer. His teammates named him so, for his unbelievable quickness and agility at dribbling around other players, reminding them of a scurrying cockroach. Not only skilled in soccer, Freitas also began training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in his early teens, right around the time the Royce Gracie craze ripped across the nation of Brazil. He and his friends trained together, at first on their own, then continuing on at local gyms.
One of those friends, Roberto Alencar, started the Gracie Barra New Mexico Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, where he is currently Head Instructor. Freitas came to America and won the 2007 No-Gi World Championships at brown belt, and he took second place at black belt in 2008. At that time, Alencar invited Freitas to come to his academy, where he has been ever since, as Chief Instructor.
Freitas has always been interested in fighting as a mixed martial artist, from the time he started training in Jiu Jitsu. However, he was never sure it was something he could do, until he came to Albuquerque, NM. The pervasive fight culture of New Mexico and the many fighters he’s trained, gave him the motivation he needed to believe he could also be a mixed martial artist. He began training in boxing and kickboxing with Chavez Martial Arts Academy almost two years ago, where he works with Grandmaster Chavez to prepare for his upcoming fight.
Freitas’ mixed martial arts record is currently 3-0, with each win coming by submission, the most recent win by a submission he invented himself – the Barata Plata. He describes it as “a super strong shoulder lock, applied with my legs and hips.” Freitas feels totally ready to meet his opponent, King of the Cage veteran, Josh Montoya, whom he describes as a tough opponent, with a good ground game. But that means little to Freitas, “Whatever he gives me, I can take; I have a lot of ways to finish him.”
Freitas always looks to finish not only in the first round, but in first contact, as he has in all his fights; but he points out, he is more than capable of going all three rounds, having superb conditioning thanks to the tough leadership of Grandmaster Chavez. He will be cornered in Clovis by Grandmaster as well as good friend, coworker and teammate, Professor Gustavo Alencar.