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Welcome once again to the second edition of the Brazil Beat, Bloody Elbow’s weekly roundup of everything fight-related that took place in a country with one of the biggest fighting cultures in the world.
Join me as a controversial veteran returns to action, we bid farewell to a jiu-jitsu legend, hear what some former UFC champions had to say about current events and much more.
Marlon Sandro scores front kick KO in first fight after prison release
In the main story of this week’s Brazil Beat, an ex-convict came back with a bang.
Bellator and Pancrase veteran Marlon Sandro returned to action after more than six years away from competition, scoring a highlight reel knockout at Shooto Brasil 117, when he finished Alexandre Castro with an Anderson Silva style front kick to the face.
The reason Sandro had been away for such a long time has to do with issues outside of the Octagon. Having been accused of domestic violence and threatening to kill his then fiance on more than one occasion in late 2017, Sandro spent one-and-a-half years in prison after an investigation substantiated the accusations against him. In fact, the fighter himself even eventually went on tape to admit his crimes.
Though Sandro was initially expelled from Nova Uniao when the accusations came to light, Andre Pederneiras ended up taking the fighter back under his wing after Sandro was released from prison. He even went so far as to arrange for the fighter to be in Shooto Brasil 117’s main event, since Pederneiras is president of the promotion.
Legendary BJJ pioneer Robson Gracie passed away at 88
Brazil said goodbye to a legend of Brazilian jiu-jitsu this week.
Pioneering jiu-jitsu blackbelt Robson Gracie died at the age of 88 last Friday. The second son of patriarch Carlos Gracie, Robson helped the family to expand the growth of combat sports in Brazil in both jiu-jitsu and Vale Tudo.
In his life, Robson had seven children, including noted MMA legend Renzo Gracie and PRIDE talent Ryan Gracie—the latter of whom died tragically in 2007. He was also the grandfather of four-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Kyra Gracie, who has acted in the past as a color commentator for Combate during their UFC broadcasts in the early 2010’s.
Robson was buried in his gi and wearing the honorary red belt reserved only for those at the highest level of the sport. His funeral was attended by fighters and other celebrities alike, in Rio de Janeiro. The cause of his death was not disclosed by the family.
Invicta has a new atomweight champion
Wednesday may not be most high-profile MMA day of the week, but it is one that Rayanne dos Santos will never forget. Dos Santos cruised her way to a unanimous decision victory to win the atomweight title at Invicta FC 53 against Jillian DeCoursey.
Though the 27-year-old could not finish the former champion, her triple 50-45 scorecard clearly left an impression on the promotion, who posted video praising the Brazilian’s performance on their official Twitter account.
Furthermore, on a card that featured a total of just seven bouts, three more Brazilians also had their hands raised last Wednesday. Strawweight Jessica Delboni defeated Danielle Taylor via unanimous decision, while atomweights Monique Adriane and Elisandra Oliveira respectively bested Nicole Geraldo and Flor Hernandez.
Check out a few highlights of these fights below:
Jungle Fight 115 delivers the knockouts
Last weekend was a big one for Brazilian MMA. While Marlon Sandro scored his front kick knockout at Shooto Brasil 117, Jungle Fight 115 held its latest edition in Sao Paulo, on April 29, in a night full of finsihes.
Starting with a title fight, lightweight champion Kaynan Kruschewsky’s had his first successful defense, as he TKO’d challenger Thierry Lucas in the fifth round of their match.
Meanwhile, bantamweight Leonardo Sabino scored a TKO win over Gabriel Roque, while bantamweight Caique Araujo scored a 12-second KO win over Rafael Almeida. On the co-main event, lightweight Lukas Campos scored a TKO over Mailson Rodrigues. All these finishes were put together in one video on Combate’s official Twitter account, which can be seen below.
Prospect leaves Charles Oliveira impressed at Jungle Fight 115
Not featured on the highlights of Jungle Fight 115 was one Mateus Andrade, a bantamweight who scored a triangle choke submission win over Michael Oliveira. Though the 20-year-old’s victory did not make the highlight reel, there was one person who was rather impressed with his victory: former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
An up-and-coming fighter at Oliveira’s Gold Team, Andrade scored the third victory of his now 3-1 professional record, with all victories coming by way of submission. Shortly after the event, ‘Do Bronx’ told Combate how satisfied he was with the way his pupil dominated the fight and scored another finish.
“Mateus had an awesome fight. Everything we planned was there. Putting his hands on the guy, then taking him down, control him, breathe. Everything was flowing. It looked like a videogame. God blessed him. The merit goes entirely to him and our team, who worked so hard.”
Rafael dos Anjos talks Burns vs. Muhammad
Charles Oliveira was not the only former UFC lightweight champion to speak with the media lately. In an interview on YouTube channel Canal Encarada, Rafael dos Anjos analyzed a big upcoming welterweight match at UFC 288: Gilbert Burns vs. Belal Muhammad.
While breaking down the fight, RDA paid special attention to the moment ‘Durinho’ has been living currently in the UFC. from the sound of things, it seems Dos Anjos feels that Burns is in the prime of his career right now, coming off his wins over Magny and Masivdal..
“Durinho is in a really good moment. He fought in January and now beat Masvidal, too. Both expressive wins. Now he has this title eliminator against Belal, who is tough, he has great wrestling. Durinho is in a better moment, though. I believe he has all it takes to get past Belal. Fighting is in the mind and he believes it. I think he can even become champion.”
Olympic boxer to fight for world title
Remember that guy who said Alex Pereira knew nothing about boxing? Well, he’s fighting for a title now.
Having defeated Cristian Rios in May 2022—and once slated to take on none other than Gennady Golovkin—2012 Olympic Games silver medalist Esquiva Falcao is now scheduled to take on Vincenzo Gualtieri for the vacant IBF middleweight title on July 1, in Germany.
On his official Instagram account, Falcao announced the news.
Still undefeated, Falcao (30-0) scored a unanimous decision over Cristian Rios in his last outing, in May 2022. Most recently, the boxer also made the news for criticizing former UFC champion Alex Pereira on his loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287.
Caio Borralho vows to become UFC champion
While Gilbert Burns is already within title contention in the welterweight division, a middleweight fighter has put his division on notice. Fresh off a submission win over Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC Vegas 72. Caio Borralho took the opportunity to send a message to the rest of his weight class.
In an interview with Ag Fight, the Brazilian guaranteed that becoming a champion was merely a matter of time. To get that goal, Borralho took a moment to call out another seasoned veteran that he feels could break him into the top 10 at 185.
“The belt is my goal. I can look you in the eye and say I’m going to be a champion of the world. I’m sure of this because I’ve been working for this for years. I know I have a long road ahead of me, lots to improve, but I’m willing to pay the price. I know I’ll be a champion, I was born for it.”
“Derek Brunson is a gatekeeper, right?” Borralho said. “Prospects get to him and he destroys them. I want to test myself against a guy like that. So I called him out. Two fights ago, I called him out on Twitter. He told me to have two more fights and he’d fight me if I won. I did it, I fought and won two more. I hope he listens to me now.”
The win over Oleksiejczuk put Borralho (14-1) on a four-fight winning streak in the UFC. So far, the 30-year-old has scored victories over Gadhzi Omargadhziev, Armen Petrosyan, and Makhmud Muradov prior to his win at UFC Vegas 72.
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