Mansfield draws fight stars

The Gracie Barra Midlands academy, a Mansfield fighting facility.
The Gracie Barra Midlands academy, a Mansfield fighting facility.

A FIGHTING facility in Mansfield dedicated to armlocks and chokeholds is being sought out by the some of the world’s top mixed martial artists.

UFC middleweight contender Dan Hardy is among those to take to the mats regularly at Gracie Barra Midlands, headed up by top Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Victor Estima.

Hardy and Team Rough House team mates Jim Wallhead, Andre Winner and Strikeforce title contender Paul Daley have been honing their grappling skills at the Botany Avenue facility, which is one of the largest full time gyms in the country.

And it is not only the Nottingham-based team of professional fighters seeking out the tuition on offer at Gracie Barra Midlands.

A spokesman for the club said Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players from across the country were coming to train.

He said: “Every day we have people who have travelled for hours to get here - from as far away as Newcastle, Hull.

“Around 70 per cent of our members are from outside the Mansfield area - we want local people to know what is available to them on their doorstep.”

The gym opened last summer and dedicates more than 6,000 sq ft of mat space to the art. Head coach Victor Estima has competed at the top levels of the sport and has already guided the club to numerous gold medals.

Anyone wishing to try their hand at Mixed Martial Arts - which combines boxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu, can take advantage of a the recently installed practice cage and boxing ring. Former Muay Thai World Champion Lee Chesters was this month added to the team of instructors.

Work is currently being carried out on a strength and conditioning room with facilities for traditional and modern exercise.

For more information ring 01623 646948.