I happened to spar with Teddy Riner!
Former judoka and high-level grappler, Alexis Fontes has successfully switched to MMA. After a period undermined by injuries, he is ready to start again on the right foot.
A trial run can sometimes turn into a master stroke. Alexis Fontes is the best example of it. In 2016, he decided to register for the French grappling championships with only three months of practice in his legs. The initial goal was to gain experience, but he finished with the gold medal around his neck. “That year, I finished 2nd at the European Championships and 3rd at the World Championships”, recalled the 31-year-old middleweight. “After that, everything followed very quickly, and for the next four years, I won medals in all three competitions. I didn’t understand what was going on, I was giving priority in the French team to guys who had been training for ten years. In reality, this blossoming is not the result of chance. Before trying his hand at grappling, Alexis Fontes had already been at the top level, but in judo. “I did several international tournaments. In the French team, I happened to make sparring with Teddy Riner! But in 2015, I had cruciate ligaments, and I never really came back. My youth had grown and I was no longer enjoying myself, so I needed new challenges.”
“I felt I had to catch up with the level in boxing”.
The grappling parenthesis finally led to a career in MMA. And in the cage, the Frenchman quickly built a style based on grip. “At first, I had only one objective: to bring my opponent to the ground. But from my first fights, I felt that I had to catch up in boxing. Now, I’m focused on what I’m good at, and I still perform well on my feet.” And while the many years at the top level are no stranger to this successful transition, they still left their mark. “It destroyed me physically,” summarizes Alexis Fontes. “I had a lot of injuries. Between the cruciates, the cervicals, and I stopped counting the fractures… I must have had ten or fifteen!”A lot of things impede my progress, and lead me to have psychological blocks. “But that’s it, I’m much freer of mind now. I’m out of a bad situation, and I can concentrate on what’s next: winning more and more, and getting a belt.