Marlon Sandro was one of the top MMA fighters in the featherweight division. The Andre Pederneiras disciple from Nova Uniao began his martial arts journey when he started doing capoeira at the age of 17. Just a few weeks later he was sporting a gi and grappling on the mats.
The jiu-jitsu black belt and former Bellator featherweight says he tries to keep a balanced diet, having the sacred six meals per day. Breakfast usually entails cereal, bread, coffee with milk, juice and some fruit. For lunch, a plate of salad always accompanies the traditional rice and beans, mashed potatoes, meat, chicken or fish.
“When I am about to compete, I increase the amount of salad I eat and decrease the amount of rice and beans. Since I arrive at the academy quite early, at 9 am, and go back home at 11pm, I end up having lunch and dinner in a restaurant that sponsors me in the Flamengo area,” explains Marlon.
Two months before a tournament, the fighter trains his metabolism to accustom itself to a new diet. “I avoid fried food, as well as greasy and heavy food like feijoada (pork and black bean stew) and mocotó (ox and white bean stew) – although I like to eat them when I am off competition. It is also important to drink a lot of water.”
On regular training days, away from the pressure of competition, Sandro prefers lighter training to prevent muscle fatigue and bruises. “I do technical training. Sometimes, when a friend of mine is preparing for a fight, I go to the gym just to help him. And instead of training three times a day, I train only twice in order to rest a little bit. If I am not close to competition, I just lift weights. Otherwise I do physical conditioning training with strength, explosion, resistance, running and sometimes swimming.”
Free time is another valuable facet for an MMA fighter, and Marlon knows the best way to relieve the pressure of training and tournaments. “I like to go to church, to the movie theatre, to the beach, and every chance I get I like to hang out with my son, mainly because during competition I barely see him. We like to go to parks together.”
Words & Photos by Matthew Soroka