When Phillipe Nover enters the biggest fight of his life a lightweight contest with Efrain Escudero for "The Ultimate Fighter 8" championship he'll do so as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Alexandre "Soca" Freitas awarded the belt to Nover, who's studied BJJ for the past eight years, this past weekend.
"To me, obtaining a black belt brings the art to full circle," Nover wrote on his official blog. "I will continue to train just as hard as I have been and will strive to the top."
The ceremony took place this past Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Soca Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York. (A video of ceremony can be found on Nover's blog.)
Nover (5-0-1), a Brooklyn-born registered ER nurse, entered the current season of "The Ultimate Fighter" with an undefeated pro record of 5-0-1. The 24-year-old Team Insight fighter defeated Joe Duarte (second-round submission), Dave Kaplan (first-round submission) and George Roop (first-round submission) to advance to the show's live finale, which takes place Saturday and airs live from The Palms Las Vegas.
Nover earned some early recognition on the show when one victory prompted Dana White to compare the fighter to UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Additionally, his coach on the show, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, said Nover fought with the same tenacity as UFC middleweight title-holder Anderson Silva.