The UFC’s return trip to Brazil has hit a few speed bumps. The world’s largest MMA promotion returns to one of the sport’s international hotbeds for the first time since UFC 283 back in January with a Fight Night event geared toward showcasing hometown talent.
Every single bout on the card is set to feature one Brazilian fighter taking on an opponent from outside the country (with the lone exception of a Brazilian vs. Brazilian match between Elves Brener vs. Kaynan Kruschewsky). A 13-fight event loaded with opportunities to get local fans cheering.
Well, it was supposed to be 13 fights.
Ismael Bonfim vs. Vinc Pichel axed from UFC Sao Paulo
No, we’re not talking about Derrick Lewis’ arrest for speeding last week. The ‘Black Beast’ is still primed for his main event slot. Instead, the first UFC Sao Paulo fight up on the chopping block this week was a lightweight bout between Brazil’s Ismael Bonfim and California native Vinc Pichel. Alongside his brother, Gabriel, Bonfim made a big splash in his Octagon debut, crushing Terrance McKinney with a flying knee for a second round knockout.
‘Marreta’ didn’t fair nearly so well in his second trip to the Octagon, however, losing by first round submission in an absolute war with France’s Benoit Saint-Denis. The fight against Pichel this Saturday looked to be a badly needed bounce-back opportunity for Bonfim, with the 40-year-old Ultimate Training Academy disciple returning after more than a year on the sidelines, following a 2022 loss to Mark Madsen.
Unfortunately, Bonfim missed weight by a mile, coming in at 159.5 pounds—3.5 pounds over the lightweight limit. Pichel struggled as well, coming in one pound over the limit, but was able to cut down to 155.5. Unfortunately Bonfim was not and the bout has now been called off.
Victor Hugo vs. Daniel Marcos cancelled as well
Further down on the prelims, more bad news. Daniel Marcos has made an unexpected splash in the Octagon so far. Coming off a solid, scrappy performance on the 2022 season of the Contender series, the Peruvian has started his UFC career with back-to-back wins over Saimon Oliveira and ‘Dangerous’ Davey Grant.
The Los Perros Sarnosos athlete had been scheduled to take on Brazilian newcomer Victor Hugo on the UFC Sao Paulo prelims, however, Huge missed the limit by 2.5 pounds—weighing in at 138.5. Shortly after the weigh-ins, the UFC announced that the fight had been officially cancelled.
Montserrat Ruiz vs. Eduarda Moura still on at catchweight
While both Bonfim/Pichel and Hugo/Marcos have been scratched from UFC Sao Paulo, there’s one fight that will still be going forward, despite another huge weight miss. Eduarda Moura was set for her strawweight debut, coming off a victory in week 2 of this year’s Contender Series. At 5′ 6″ and with a reasonably stocky build, Moura seems like something of a giant for 115 lbs.
Turns out, that may be because she can’t actually make 115 lbs with any kind of regularity. The Brazilian started her career as a bantamweight, dropping down to strawweight for the first time just back in March of this year. For her fight against Ruiz she came in at 119.5 lbs—another 3.5 pound weight miss.
It seems Ruiz has decided to go ahead with the bout at a catchweight however, and as a result will get 30% of Moura’s show money.
Otherwise of note, originally set to be a lightweight bout between Elves Brener and Esteban Ribovics, Brener vs. Kruschewsky will take place at 165 lbs, following Ribovics’ last-minute removal from the card.
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