Hello, boys and girls. It is Thursday once again, which means it’s time for another edition of the Brazil Beat. You know, the weekly roundup of all the news in the Brazilian fighting community, all conveniently put together in one place by yours truly.
This week, we’ve got some drama involving former UFC champions Charles Oliveira and Conor McGregor, rising sensation Diego Lopes and another beef between BJJ legends Gordon Ryan and Felipe ‘Preguica’ Pena. But that is still not all of it, so let’s dive right in.
Charles Oliveira wants Conor McGregor at any weight class
Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is still yearning for that chance to fight Conor McGregor. Though it has been years since ‘Do Bronx’ first called out the Irishman, the Brazilian is still trying to make it happen in 2023.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Oliveira explained how he is willing to take on Conor McGregor at any weight class, as long as he can secure the fight.
“What’s happening is that I’m here — I’m just waiting for him,” Oliveira said via translator (and UFC octagon girl) Luciana Andrade on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “All he needs to do is tell me the place and the time, and I’ll be there.”
“I don’t know, I’m here — where is Conor?” Oliveira asked.” “170, 183 [pounds], doesn’t matter,” Oliveira said. “All he needs to do is stop and do it.”
It’s nice that Oliveira is willing to go above and beyond for this dream fight, but does anyone really think it can happen? I, for one, don’t even think McGregor will ever fight again, so don’t hold your breath, Charles.
Shoeface to undergo surgery
Speaking of not holding your breath, don’t expect former Professional Fighters League champion Antonio Carlos Junior to fight again any time soon.
In an interview with Combate (translated by Bloody Elbow), ‘Shoeface’ explained that a knee surgery will most likely prevent him from fighting for a while. Though the procedure will not be as serious as the other surgery he needed to undergo prior to this one, it should still sideline the BJJ blackbelt for a few months.
“I disappeared for a while because these last few days weren’t very good. I came to Brazil, but not for a reason I’d like to have come for. I’ve got good and bad news. The bad one is what already had a 99% chance of coming true, but it was confimed today after I went to the doctor. I’m going to need surgery in my knee again to fix a problem in my meniscus. It’s simpler than the one I already had, but I didn’t want to be going through this, of course.”
Knee problems are no joke, they’re pretty much impossible to get rid of and can be a career-ender if you don’t take care of them properly. In the long run, I think Shoeface is doing the right thing, here.
Diego Lopes wants that UFC Sao Paulo spot
Everything is going ideally for featherweight sensation Diego Lopes. Having scored a flying triangle/armbar finish over Gavin Tucker just last weekend, the Tom DeLonge lookalike is well on his way to becoming a fan-favorite with two bonuses in two Octagon outings.
In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), Lopes explained how satisfied he is with his career so far, even if it started off with a loss to Movsar Evloev back in May of this year.
“Thank god, we’ve been doing things right. It doesn’t matter that I lost my first fight and won the last one, think I’m doing well. Morale is way up. We have to take advantage of that, keep working hard so that it doesn’t go down. We really need to seize this moment. Two UFC fights, two bonuses. That’s incredible to me.”
Now that he has an impressive finish win under his belt, the 28-year-old would like to perform in front of his people if a rumored November card actually gets confirmed to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“They’ve been working on it (to get a fight at UFC Sao Paulo). It’s not confirmed that the event will be in Sao Paulo yet, from what we’ve heard. So we’ll wait. If it gets confirmed, it would be incredible to fight in Brazil and, mostly, to take my family with me. We’ve been doing things right. We can afford to take my family to see me fight in Sao Paulo. I hope it gets confirmed and that I can fight there.”
Diego Lopes is so fun to watch. Fun grapplers like him don’t come around that often and it’s awesome that he also has a distinctive to make him stand out, too. He can go really far.
Is Gordon Ryan avoiding Felipe Pena?
Moving on from MMA to some BJJ drama, we’ve got some unfinished business between some of the most decorated grapplers in the world as Felipe Pena is still trying to get that fourth Gordon Ryan match. Having defeated Ryan twice before, Pena lost their third encounter when he withdrew from the match due to his close friend Leandro Lo being murdered on the same day.
In an interview with Combate (translated by Bloody Elbow), though, pena claims that Ryan has signed a contract that forces him to have a fourth match, but ‘Preguica’ believes his rival is doing all he can to avoid the match from happening.
“Actually, he’s contractually obligated to fight me. I had two wins against him and we were all set for the third fight, then Leandro Lo’s unfortunate passing happened on the same day. I considered not fighting, but the promotion said ‘Do, but we’re signing a contract that will make him fight you again’. So I did. He couldn’t do anything in the fight. He couldn’t pass my guard, he coulnd’t finish the fight.
“I had this in my mind: ‘If we go past 30, 40 minutes, I’m leaving if I can’t get a finish.’ I did that, I wasn’t doing well mentally. Then the fight on the contract was set for January of this year. I moved to the United States. Trained here for three months, then two days before the fight he withdrew and said he had an infection.”
In fact, Pena believes Ryan has been ducking anyone who may have a chance of beating him and not just the Brazilian.
“Ever since then, I think he’s been avoiding me. Not just me, but anyone who’s tough. “I won’t fight Nicky Rod because of this. I won’t fight Kaynan because of that.”. I think he’s avoiding anyone who can beat him as a career strategy. He’s afraid of losing his status.”
What do my BJJ specialists say? Would Pena still be the favorite in a fourth fight?
Alex Pereira’s former opponent got a UFC contract
Speaking of rivalries from other sports, there’s a former opponent of Alex Pereira who may have gotten his UFC ticket just for that reason.
Having recently fought at Contender Series, Cesar Almeida secured a UFC contract by beating Lucas Almeida via unanimous decision in an opportunity the Brazilian believes he only had due to his history with ‘Poatan’.
In an interview with Ag Fight (translated by Bloody Elbow), Almeida explained how being in the minority of opponents Pereira could knock out (he lost to Poatan via unanimous decision in 2013), may have impressed the UFC brass enough to earn him a Contender Series spot.
“Yes, for sure (having fought Pereira helped). Even to get into Contender Series, I’m sure that mattered. I fought 13 rounds against Alex. Two five-round fight and one three rounder. I won one of them. I was one of the few guys he didn’t knock out. I’m very resilient and I showed it today. I took some hard shots from Lucas, but I stayed strong. I’m a big prospect in the division, even though I’m 35. 35 is just a number. Age is in your head and how you carry yourself. I feel like a boy and ready to keep evolving in this sport.”
Despite being 35, Almeida has pretty low MMA mileage, so maybe he can stick around for a while and be one of those fun veterans with power. I wouldn’t call him a prospect, but let the man vibe.
Finally, a little redemption tale could be in the making at Bellator 298.
Having lost his debut and the 0 in his record at Bellator 288, lightweight Jairo Pacheco admits that the responsibility of performing on a big stage got to him. Back in November 2022, ‘Mumuzinho’ dropped a unanimous decision to Killys Mota in a performance the Brazilian himself was not very proud of.
Now, in an interview with Combate (translated by Bloody Elbow), the 25-year-old guarantees he has learned his lesson and has grown used to fighting in a big promotion. Paired up against Russia’s Vladimir Tokov for this Friday’s show, the Brazilian hopes to make things different and avoid losing two straight.
“It was a pretty bad outing. Everything was new, I was amazed by all of it. I looked at the show and I felt small. I think I had jitters, I felt the weight on my back. I was shy. I froze, I got nervous. We always get nervous, but then it goes away when the fight begins. It didn’t go away that time. There were too many people talking, you couldn’t make out what they were saying. You can’t concentrate. You get lost. I didn’t focus on my goal, which was to to win the fight. This time around is going to be different. I’m more used to everything, this environment. I think it’s going to be different.”
Often a loss turns a fighter into a better version of themselves, right? Let’s see what Jairo Pacheco has learned from his tomorrow.
A Brazilian Beat
Pagode is a Brazilian music genre deriving from samba that saw a huge boom in popularity during the 90’s, several artists rose to fame around that time, with songs that to this day feel like time machines that take you back straight to those days when you play them.
One such group is Rio de Janeiro’s Molejo, which became popular for a more humorous approach to their lyrics while most other pagode groups focused on love and heartbreak. Still, I really enjoy their musicality, arrangements and the way lead singer Anderson Leonardo tells a story with his unique voice and carioca.
Check out one of my favorite Molejo songs and an absolute hit from the 90’s right here: Cilada (it roughly translates to ‘Trap’ or ‘Ambush’), with a chorus that every Brazilian who was alive at the time can quote: “Não era amor. Era cilada.” (It wasn’t love, it was a trap/ambush).
That’s it for now, folks. See you all next week! Stay safe!
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