Perfection is very difficult to achieve in elite sport particularly when it comes to the high stakes cauldron of mixed martial arts. But so far Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida has been flawless.

The BJJ legend has won three fights out of three making a perfect start to life as a pro but has not exactly been given an easy ride. He submitted kickboxing veteran Anderson Silva in the opening round on his debut and then handed hard hitting Korean He then repeated the trick on his sophomore outing against Kang Ji Won handing the Korean his first ever loss.

In his third bout he finished Simon Carson with ground and pound to maintain his 100% first round finishing rate. But Buchecha’s upcoming fight against Kirill Grishenko at ONE 161 will undoubtedly be his toughest test so far.

The Belarusian’s only loss came against the current interim champ Anatoly Malykhin and Buchecha acknowledges he is facing a better opponent,

“Yeah, it’s a huge step up. But I don’t like to think like that. When I made my debut in ONE, Kirill was doing his debut at the same time, so we had the same amount of time in the house, right?”

Equal footing

Buchecha might not have been a professional mixed martial artist for as long as his opponent but he doesn’t see this as a significant disadvantage,

“He has three fights in ONE. I got three, going for my fourth one. Before that, he didn’t have much experience in MMA, so I think it’s fair,” he said.

In his first three fights, the American Top Team star used his vast superiority on the ground to outclass his opponents on the canvas. Grishenko comes from a Greco-Roman background so it won’t be easy getting him to the ground which Buchecha acknowledges,

“(Grishenko is) a great fighter with a lot of experience in his wrestling background. So, it’s going to be a really interesting one because it’s going to be the first wrestler that I will fight. If I (want to) get the belt one day I need to pass all the tests so he’s going to be a huge one, and I’m excited.”

Historic moment

Competing on the first-ever ONE Championship show aired on Amazon Prime will be a historic moment for the 32 year old. As well as being an opportunity to perform for a vast audience in North America he is relishing the opportunity to compete on the same card as legends like Demetrious Johnson and Rodtang Jitmuangnon,

“I’m just starting in the game and these guys that have been fighting for such a long time are legends in the sport already. And for me to have the opportunity to fight on the same card along with them, it’s a blessing.”