UFC title shot for Sean Strickland? Guess which former champ is calling for that

JDS is set to rematch Fabricio Werdum, Pantoja got a hero's welcome, and someone got robbed at UFC 290.

By: Lucas Rezende | 2 months ago

Hello, boys and girls. It is Thursday once again, which means it is time for yet another edition of the Brazil Beat. You know what I mean, your weekly roundup of Brazilian fighting news that took place in the last seven days, all conveniently put together in one place by yours truly.

This week, we saw some intriguing statements from former UFC heavyweight champions Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum, as well as the hero’s welcome newly crowned flyweight champ Alexandre Pantoja had at American Top Team and a scary tale shared by strawweight prospect Denise Gomes. That’s still not all, though. So let’s jump right in and see what else is in store.

Junior dos Santos eyeing boxing move

In this week’s top story, former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is still a couple of months away from his rematch against Fabricio Werdum at Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred Bareknuckle 5 on September 8. However, that does not mean ‘Cigano’ intends to be an MMA fighter for much longer.

Although the fight against Werdum is set to be a bare knuckle MMA match, Junior dos Santos sees it as the start of something else. In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), the Brazilian explained that his actual intention is to become a boxer and hopes he can find suitable opponents to make the transition happen.

“My intention is to do boxing fights, but it’s not as easy as it seems. It’s hard to find opponents. Talk is cheap, but when it’s time to close the deal, all those tough guys are kind of wusses. I’m coming off some negative results, so that might play a factor.”

“There’s a bigger risk for my opponents. My intention still is to box, my talks with Masvidal have been going that way, too. I’m really happy I could close this partnership with Gamebred. Not just for bare knuckle MMA, but boxing, too. They’ve been putting on great shows. I’m really excited. I think it’s an interesting and positive partnership.”

If he really wants it, I don’t think Cigano would have much of a problem finding some random YouTuber to box him, to be honest.

Fabricio Werdum not too worried about the bare knuckle aspect

While Junior dos Santos thinks about his future post-MMA, his opponent has his head on what is in front of him.

In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum revealed what the transition process from regular mixed martial arts to bare knuckle has been like at his gym. Although ‘Vai Cavalo’ has never done it before, he trusts the change will go smoothly, as he is surrounded by some of the best coaches and partners in the world.

“The adaption process is pretty easy for us. Master Rafael Cordeiro has lots of experience. Renato Sobral, too, who is my brother. The whole team. Chute Boxe is old school, my master’s roots. I was a part of it, too. I think we’ll adapt quite well. We’ll be training with MMA gloves, boxing gloves and no gloves. We’ll hit pads with no gloves in order to get my hands used to it so we can have this bare knuckle fight.”

A UFC champion’s welcome for Alexandre Pantoja

Leaving the heavyweight champions behind and taking a turn all the way to other end of the weight class scale, we’ve got the new UFC flyweight champion Alexande Pantoja, who just recently conquered the belt by beating Brandon Moreno at UFC 290 just last weekend.

A member of American Top Team, the Brazilian had a hero’s welcome when he first took the belt to the gym. In a video post on ATT’s official Instagram, we see several teammates and coaches congratulating Pantoja throughout the video.

Names such as two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison, UFC lightweight Thiago Moises and former Strikeforce champion, Bellator contender Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal can be seen praising the ‘Cannibal’. Furthermore, other athletes such as Thiago Santos, Amanda Ribas and Thiago Alves left messages for their fellow Brazilian in the comments.

Alexandre Pantoja becoming a UFC champion is actually a big relief for Brazilian MMA, as the country had no titles in the promotion after Amanda Nunes decided to retire earlier this year.

Denise Gomes got robbed at UFC 290

While Alexandre Pantoja had the night of his life and won the title at UFC 290, his fellow countrywoman Denise Gomes also scored an impressive win in the prelims, knocking out Yazmin Jauregui in just 20 seconds and securing a performance bonus in the performace. However, it was not all good news for the 23-year-old strawweight in Las Vegas.

On weigh-in day, Gomes says had quite an unfortunate surprise while walking back to her after hitting the strawweight mark with no problems. It all seemed to be well on her way until Gomes arrived at her car and noticed a broken window. In an interview with Ag Fight (Translated by Bloody Elbow), the strawweight explained that someone broke into her car while she was inside the T-Mobile Arena and took her wallet.

“I got to my car and the window was smashed. I don’t know what happened. They stole our wallet. Thank god my cards were in a little fanny pack I have. They took one of Karol’s (Rosa, UFC featherweight and Gomes’ girlfriend) cards. It was crazy. I had just weighed in. I was going back to the hotel. It was a scare. It was the first time we’ve seen that kind of thing here. Thank God we had our passports on us.”

You know what, I had the same thing happen to me in 2014. I parked my car in a shady neighborhood in order to visit a friend who lived nearby and when I came back my window was also smashed and they had taken my wallet. I never left my wallet in the car, but I did that night in what can only be explained as a prime example of Murphy’s Law. So yeah, I feel your pain, Denise.

Glover Teixeira wants title shot for Sean Strickland

We are still not done with former UFC champions just yet. Though we’ve been over Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum, we still have room for another as Glover Teixeira shared some interesting views in an interview with Super Lutas (translated by Bloody Elbow).

Having helped middleweight contender Sean Strickland prepare for his fight against Abus Magomedov earlier this month, the former light heavyweight champion gave some insight into what was like to spend time with ‘Tarzan’ at the gym.

Ever the gentleman, Teixeira says Strickland’s presence and work ethich was an inspiration for up-and-coming fighters and after seeing how hard the middleweight trains, the Brazilian believes Tarzan could even be ready for a title shot now.

“Sean Strickland, man. He’s incredibly tough. He works like a maniac. I’ve been blessed, we all were, to have a guy like him at the gym. I have lots of amateur fighters and they see how hard he works. He’s Sean, you know? He’s happy, he talks a lot, but he’s putting in the work. He’s an amazing guy. He knows how to train with everybody and doesn’t hurt anyone. He doesn’t have to prove a point at the gym. He’s amazing. I really like Sean and I’m happy that he was able to get that win. I think he deserves the title shot now.”

Let’s not get too carried away now, Glover.

Bo Nickal is not ‘on my level’, says Caio Borralho

Moving from one UFC middleweight contender to a rising one, we’ve got yet more provocation towards hot prospect Bo Nickal coming from Caio Borralho.

When Nickal’s original opponent, Tresean Gore, had to leave UFC 290 due to a wrist injury, Borralho took the opportunity to have a big payday against a hot prospect on short notice, making himself available on Twitter. Though the Brazilian did not get the fight in the end, he still does not regret calling out the wrestler.

In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), Borralho explained that if the UFC had booked the fight, he would have exposed Nickal’s flaws in MMA.

“I’m always ready and training hard. I came to Vegas, I saw the news on Tuesday. As soon as I saw the news, I tweeted: ‘Show me the money and we can talk’. I knew there was a small chance the UFC would give him to me. If they did, I would earn good money. I know he’s not on my level yet, so it would be a good option. Even if the UFC had given him to me, it would be hard for him to accept. He knows we are on different levels. My engagement has increased. It’s good to be in the spotlight. Especially in the international fight week.”

Does anyone else feel like Bo Nickal may already have what it takes to take down and at least control a guy like Borralho all the way to a decision? Especially on short notice. I feel like that would not be such a tall order for a guy like him.

UFC lighweight with vitiligo inspired by Scott Jorgensen

As usual, I like ending these posts on a positive note, which is why I saved this particular story for last. So let me just start off by saying this: representation matters.

Paired up against Austin Lingo for his second UFC outing, lightweight Melquizael Costa had to go through many ordeals before making it as a professional fighter. In fact, the hardships started as soon as he turned four years old, when he first started showing signs of vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes patches of skin to lose pigmentation.

The condition became world-famous when it was revealed that legendary pop singer Michael Jackson suffered from it, but in the MMA world, its biggest representative is WEC and UFC bantamweight veteran Scott Jorgensen.

In fact, Costa says watching Jorgensen was the sole reason why he decided to become a professional fighter, which consequently helped him deal with his disorder in a much healthier manner due to the philosophies he learned in martial arts.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Costa explains just how much Jorgensen’s representation mattered for him and how fighting helped him overcome the mental burden that comes with having such a public condition.

“I’ve never met him in person, but he once commented in one of my posts. He inspired me to get in the UFC because of his image. I saw that there was a guy in the UFC who had vitiligo and I was like: ‘Hey, that could be me, too.’. In fact, vitiligo has never gotten in the way of my career. Fighting actually helped me overcome it. I’ve had vitiligo since I was four and I’ve gone through that whole thing. I almost became depressed, it was really complicated.”

“When I first started fighting, I thought it would be just about hitting other people. Then I found out about discipline and now I’m an athlete. I’m a father. I owe all of this to God first and foremost, for putting this in my life.”

Perhaps we don’t even know it yet, but Mezaquiel Costa could be doing the same thing Jorgense did for him right now and another kid could decide to become a fighter from watching him making it happen in the UFC. That’s why representation matters.

A Brazilian Beat

Liniker is one of the most renowned performers Brazil. A black and trans woman, the Sao Paulo state native has a distinct voice which is at the same time powerful and soothing. With songs that vary from soul and jazz to funkier arrangements, it is difficult to find a style that doesn’t suit her voice.

In 2022, at age 27, Liniker won the Latin Grammy for her 2021 album Indigo Borboleta Anil, solidyfing the singer as one of the most renowned singers of her generation. Not only for her professional accomplishments, but for her stances as a black and trans successful singer in the number 1 country in murders of trans people for the last 14 years.

I think it’s quite a feat to see Liniker conquering so much in these past few years, which is why I decided to celebrate her career today.

Check out one of my favorite songs by her below: Lua de Fé.

That’s it for this week, folks. See you next Thursday! Stay safe!

Lucas out.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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