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Orlando’s Magic

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At age 26, Orlando Sanchez was an overweight junkie. Seven years later, he is the No. 1 training partner for the UFC heavyweight king — and ready to make a whole lot of noise inside the cage.

The world met Orlando Sanchez in exactly the way it should have. On the mats. Scrambling. Overwhelming. Devouring another lamb led to slaughter. It was late 2014, and with the UFC Embedded cameras in tow, Fabricio Werdum surveyed the Mexican National BJJ Tournament from afar, barking out instructions to an unlikely little brother whose nickname — “The Cuban Tree Stump” — managed to both capture and sell short the immense physical gifts of the monster owning the canvas. Things reached an end seconds later, the same way things always tend to reach an end. Werdum, grinning. Sanchez, one arm held aloft in victory.

Call it a precursor of good days to come.

Sanchez hauled his perfect MMA record to 5-0-1 the following spring, pummeling a Nicaraguan giant into a gory pulp far from the gaze of those UFC cameras. Four months later, as a +970 underdog, Sanchez became the first American ultra-heavyweight in a decade to win gold at the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships — the elite, invitation-only tournament which pits the apex predators of the grappling world at one another’s throats. It is the same title which Werdum won twice before, and that same goofy grin stretched across the UFC champion’s face as Sanchez raised his trophy skyward, victorious at the highest level of the game.

(ADCC 2015, photo via Orlando Sanchez)

That all of this happened so quickly is beside the point. That Sanchez reached the summit a mere seven years after stumbling into jiu-jitsu is a nice postscript to the story, but the real marvel is ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting