Emmanuel Sanchez, also known as ‘El Matador’ burst onto the MMA scene in 2011 where he quickly established himself as a top MMA fighter and competitor. Racking up a record of 8-1 before he was discovered by the Bellator MMA league in 2014. He gained his debut at Bellator 128 against Stephen Banaszak, where he won by rear-naked choke. With a 5-1 record in Bellator, ‘El Matador’ and a recent contract extension, Sanchez is fast moving into top contender status for the featherweight division.
The secret to Sanchez’s success comes from the gym he calls his stomping grounds, Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The old saying is true, ‘You are who you hang around with’ and in this case, Emmanuel hangs out with the best in the business. Owned and manged by kick-boxing legend, Duke Roufus, himself a four-time world champion, Roufus is known for his striking abilities and has athletes from the top ranks of the sport walking into the gym every day to learn his technique. Duke has given rise to house-hold names such as Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis, former lightweight champion. Duke has without doubt, trained some of the UFCs most prolific strikers. Sanchez has called Roufusport home and chooses to hold his training camps from its well-equipped gym. ‘El Matador’ has the very best in coaching that has seen him rise through the Bellator ranks. His striking has been developed with Duke and his head coach, Scott Cushman. Together they have refined Sanchez’s style into an efficient, effective machine that is clinical in execution. Sanchez has great footwork, crisp striking ability and light movement that sets him apart from the other competitors in the division. His sparring partners are some of the MMA industry’s brightest stars and champions and a pad session with ‘El Matador’ and the other Roufusport champions is a sight to behold.
When it comes to Jiu-jitsu training, Sanchez is dangerous on the ground because of the tutelage of one man. A student and purple-belt under Daniel ‘Big Dog’ Wanderley, Sanchez’s jiu-jitsu skill has helped him out of some precarious situations on the ground and has also helped him dominate opponents. Wanderley’s style of Jiu-jitsu was developed out of the Carlson Gracie system, where Daniel is a black belt under Gutenberg Melo. Daniel, also known as ‘The Recife Shark’ or ‘The Big Dog’ , came upon his mantle unexpectedly. One day during a rolling session, Daniel decided to use his mouth to reach his opponents lapel, his training partners found this to be amusing and said he looked like a dog. The nickname stuck and matched his style of jiu-jitsu due to the power and ferocity in his holds and submissions. He has passed his skillset onto Sanchez who has displayed amazing prowess on the ground in his competitive bouts. Himself a formidable grappler, Emmanuel had five wins by submission before landing in the Bellator arena. When he is on the ground, whether off his back or on top, Sanchez never stops working and is always looking to advance to position to something he can close with, it won’t be long before we see his next submission inside the Bellator cage.
‘El Matador’s’ secret to success comes from the fact that he is a hard worker that does not ever give up. From the opening bell to the end of the round, Sanchez keeps the pressure on and likes to keep the pace up as he relentlessly attacks with his striking game. When the fight goes to the floor, Sanchez works even harder and his ability to pass the guard seems effortless at times. For his upcoming bout at Bellator 159 against Daniel Weichel, Sanchez has been training harder than ever with the ‘RouTang-Clan’, the affectionate name given to Duke’s students and has his eyes firmly focused on gaining top contender status and a shot at the title. “El Matador’ truly does fight the ‘Mexican style’ taking three punches and giving one, but his incredible chin and ability to take punishment, cripple his opponents later into the fight when they see that they are not wearing him down, in fact in general, Sanchez come to life more and more as the fight progresses and it is this that breaks the will of his opponents and pushes him into top contender status for the Bellator Featherweight title.