When the name ‘Fabricio Andrade’ appeared on the ONE: ‘No Surrender’ card fight fans were scrambling to work out who it was. But while this might represent the biggest opportunity of the Brazilian’s career he certainly isn’t lacking in experience.

Andrade has been training at Tiger Muay Thai for nearly two years. His MMA record stands at 3-2 but he has had more than ten time as as many Muay Thai and kickboxing fights.

He probably wasn’t on ONE Championship’s radar before the Covid-19 pandemic. But with six events coming up in Bangkok the Phuket based Brazilian was in the right place at the right time,

“I have had my eyes in ONE for a while. Somehow I knew now was my time, I was just waiting for my time and it finally arrived.”

Long journey 

However he has not exactly been an overnight success. Andrade’s journey began nearly a decade ago in his native Brazil,

“I first started training when I was 13 years old. I did Muay Thai first in Brasil then after mixed with kickboxing then MMA.”

He is taking on Mark Abelardo. The experienced New Zealander is based full time at Fairtex in Pattaya and has fought four times for ONE Championship and twice for ONE Warrior Series.

Andrade is looking forward to testing his mettle against an opponent who already has a big reputation,

“Abelardo is a very experienced fighter and I am very excited to fight him. I am hoping to fight a lot more times before the end of the year.”

The closure of Thailand’s borders has halted the flow of people coming to train. Now that ONE Championship has started promoting shows again fighters who decided to continue training here during lockdown are able to reap the benefits.

It means Tiger Muay Thai is quieter than normal. But newly crowned UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan is among the fighters who continued training in Phuket during lockdown and Andrade says he hasn’t been short of sparring partners,

“Tiger is slowly getting back to normal. Right now we don’t have as many peoples but still a lot of good training partners.”

Big opportunity

Andrade has been based in Phuket for the past two years. Before that he was in China and he has been competing regularly in both kickboxing and Muay Thai,

“I moved to Thailand in 2018 after spending  some time in China. I have 29 fights in kickboxing and 12 Muay Thai fights.”

While there won’t be a live audience at ONE: ‘No Surrender’ it will be broadcast to a global audience on YouTube. It means Andrade’s friends and family in Brazil will be watching as well as his team mates and training partners in Phuket.

He knows this will be his opportunity to break out into the global stage and Andrade is determined to make the most of it,

“I am feeling great, my camp has been amazing. I don’t have to cut any weight and I am just super excited. There’s so many peoples who are very exited to watch me and I have to make them proud.”