If you don’t know who Carlos Mota is, you will soon. If you do know who he is, well, you probably feel like a friend of his.
Those who have discovered the undefeated LFA flyweight (6-0) understand his true potential. You have likely seen his fights or have interacted with him on social media. The 26-year-old is one of the most focused and talented flyweight prospects in the world.
A much-anticipated, and well-earned call from the UFC awaits him.
But how has he accomplished this much? To understand where Mota’s explosiveness, passion, and ability to fight like a hungry pit viper comes from, you must first know what he went through to get here. His story is not for the faint of heart, but I can assure you, at the very least you will be inspired.
What Fuels Mota’s Fire?
Deep in Brazil lies the city of Para. Here, Mota was born, but at two years old his mother brought him to Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, when Mota was only five, she passed away from cancer. Never having met his grandparents, or even his father, Mota was immediately plunged into hardship. He struggled, hopping from favela to favela, in search of a proper place to call home.
Without a real family in the picture, that home ended up becoming a love for martial arts.
When he was eight, Mota began his training in Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Jiu-Jitsu, and he excelled. It equipped him with purpose, eventually transforming him into a weapon. He never saw himself as a victim of bad circumstances but instead used the adversity he faced as fuel to his fire. Rather than becoming a product of his environment, Mota decided to believe in himself.
Now, a hard time in the cage pales in comparison to what the flyweight has lived through. His spirit is always high, and he’s incredibly determined. It says a great deal about Mota’s character. If that’s not enough motivation for the Brazilian native to pull from, he also has his beautiful daughter he fights for. When I asked Carlos about her, he said, “She’s getting big, and she already likes to fight!”
2020 – 2021
Fast forward to 2020, and not even visa issues could interfere with Mota’s mental fortitude. Unable to get a fight scheduled due to strict protocols in Brazil during the pandemic, he continued to train and prepare for an upcoming bout.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve watched a Carlos Mota training video yet, but it is a sight to behold. LFA’s Mota trains like the energizer bunny with an unlimited battery source. He also began learning English at an equally rapid pace.
Meanwhile, Mota was finally scheduled to fight Victor Altamirano in February for LFA’s vacant flyweight title. However, due to visa issues, he was once again unable to travel. Finally, in July, Mota was scheduled to fight Argentina’s Rodrigo Roldan at LFA 111. You can’t make this kind of story up. Roldan pulled out of the fight, and Mota received a new opponent in Jefferson Oliveira on 48 hours’ notice.
In turn, Mota had to make weight twice in two days, deal with an opponent change, and fight two weight classes above the respected one he competes in (14 lbs).
He beat the undefeated Oliveira landing his right-hand several times, stuffing takedowns and blasting kicks. Mota even landed a takedown of his own at the end of the third round just to seal the deal. Following the victory, Mota is already posting pictures of his chiseled form back in the gym, sweating pounds, just waiting for the next call.
I believe if the pandemic had not limited travel, especially to fighters in Brazil, Mota would be the LFA flyweight champion and very well could have already earned a contract with the UFC. His coach, Francisco Bueno, is like a father figure to Mota, having mentored him since the age of 18. Under his guidance, he now has the skills and support system to live out his dreams.
Mota is 6-0 with pair of finishes on his resume. He is explosive yet positions himself with patience. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, who has competed in several grappling competitions in Brazil, Mota is also very dangerous on the ground. It’s evident, finishes are what the Rio native is looking for. Every right-hand, check hook, and body kick he throws comes with vicious intent. At 5 foot 6 inches tall and 125 lbs, Mota packs the power of a lightweight.
His nickname “Tizil” derives from a blue-black grassquit bird found in Central and South America known for its aggressive tendencies. In his willingness to stand toe to toe with anyone, I would say that’s a very fitting nickname. And who was the fighter Mota sought inspiration from growing up? None other than George St. Pierre.
Our own, Sergio Piniero, has sat down with Mota on multiple occasions to discuss his upbringing and future in MMA. Mota had aspirations of being a professional soccer player. Now, you can’t speak of the top flyweight prospects in the world without mentioning his name. I’m glad he chose to fight.
If given a UFC contract, I would eventually love to see Mota fight Brandon Royval. Let’s just say they have a bit of history from Royval’s days in the LFA. Another juicy matchup would be Mota making his UFC debut against Francisco Figueiredo. If that’s not possible, because Mota is so exciting, he could fight anyone like Ode Osbourne or Malcolm Gordon and easily put on a show worth 50k.
Right now the flyweight division is the best it’s ever been. (Thank you Henry Cejudo). But it’s still a division that is starving for new talent, and Carlos Mota is up next.
Mota doesn’t see opponents, he sees obstacles in his way of achieving his goal. Compared to what he’s been through, they are just a formality.