Yes, after a brief hiatus and a change from Thursday to Monday, the Brazil Beat is officially back.
In case you don’t know or have already forgotten, this is the weekly roundup of news from the Brazilian fighting world, all conveniently put together in a single post by yours truly.
For our grand return, we’ve got tales from the gym involving former UFC champ Fabricio Werdum and current middleweight champion Sean Strickland, as well as statements from last weekend’s UFC Sao Paulo’s contestants. However, do not think I forgot about local news, as there’s also a couple of interviews from some Jungle Fight stars who have recently scored impressive wins, too.
So let’s jump right in.
Fabricio Werdum is not a fan of UFC champ Sean Strickland
Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has been telling stories again. In a conversation on his podcast ‘Nem Me Viu‘, ‘Vai Cavalo’ welcomed UFC featherweight contender Norma Dumont.
While the pair discussed a few topics from the fighting community alongside the show’s other hosts, it was not until the middleweight champion was mentioned that Werdum decided to share some thoughts about Sean Strickland.
Though Dumont tried to deescalate the situation, as Werdum started off by saying he did not agree with Strickland’s ultra-American ways, the former heavyweight champion paid no attention to it and shared a personal story that explained why he does not see eye to eye with ‘Tarzan’.
“I’ve got a problem with that guy. I think he’s an a—ole.” Werdum said.
“He’s crazy, but he’s cool,” Norma Dumont added.
“He’s too American,” Werdum continued. “I like Americans, but he’s too much of a ‘Murican. I don’t think he’s a character. He used to go to our gym to help out Marvin (Vettori) and (Kelvin) Gastelum. So he would be hanging around the gym and he’s a big guy. He probably weighs 200 pounds. So he looked heavy and I was looking for a sparring partner.
“He was training with the other guys and I asked him to spar with me. He went ‘No. I’m not training with you’. I said ‘Huh? You’re not training with me? You’re at the gym, so you’re training with me’. The moment he turned his back to me, I kicked him in the ass. Boom. You know you can’t kick someone in the ass, it’s like a slap in the face. He was like ‘What was that for?’. I told him I would kick him in the ass everytime I saw him from then on. F—ng asshole. That guy is so pedantic.”
I can definitely see what Werdum means by calling UFC champ Strickland ‘too American’, though I can’t help but wonder what Tarzan is going to say about this little story. At least he has a friend in Norma Dumont?
Elizeu Zaleski feels robbed at UFC Sao Paulo
Moving on from Fabricio Werdum’s tales to the aftermath of UFC Sao Paulo, which saw some Brazilian fighters put on impressive performances last weekend, though not all results were the most fortunate for the local athletes.
Case in point was the welterweight match between veteran Elizeu Zaleski and Rinat Fakhretdinov, which ended in a majority draw after three rounds in the prelims. Shortly after the match, a frustrated ‘Capoeira’ told Ag Fight he did not agree with the result and felt like he did enough to get the nod from the judges.
“In the second round, he told me ‘Let’s win that bonus’. I said ‘Yeah, let’s do it’. He tried taking me down at the end because he was feeling my hands, though. He had to resort to lay-and-pray. I easily won, even the third round.”
“Unfortunately, the judges didn’t see it that way. I feel victorious, though. I don’t think the result was fair. The ref could’ve stopped the fight after the knockdown. He was out and came back about two times. I don’t get it. The fight could’ve been stopped. Sometimes refs will stop a fight over nothing and when they have to, they don’t. The judges saw it one way, I saw it another.”
I’ll have to agree and disagree with Zaleski on this one. Firstly, I do think he could have gotten a stoppage after he dropped his opponent and followed up with some heavy ground and pound. It did seem to me that Fakhretdinov looked pretty finished in a couple of moments there.
However, since the fight was not stopped and this was already the third round of a fight in which Fakhretdinov had won the first two, I believe the draw was the most logical result.
Borralho calls out Du Plessis after big UFC win
Though seasoned vet Elizeu Zaleski did not have it his way in Brazil, a rising middleweight prospect kept on climbing the ladder after scoring yet another victory in his home country.
With a unanimous decision win over Abus Magomedov, Caio Borralho now finds himself on a five-fight win streak in the UFC and he knows exactly who he wants to face next. In an interview with Ag Fight, the Brazilian mentioned how it may be a tall order, but he won’t give up on trying to score a fight against top contender Dricus Du Plessis.
“I haven’t changed my mind. I just didn’t want to spoil who I wanted to call out. I think Dricus is the perfect fight. He’s the only one on a win streak who’s ahead of me. He has no losses at middleweight. He has six wins, I have five. Actually, I have seven if we count the Contender Series fights, too.
“I think it’s a fight that makes a lot of sense, even if he’s ranked at number two. Du Plessis has no fights booked. The only way he could fight for a title is if he fought Adesanya, because they’re both from Africa. He’s not going to run away from me, though. If the UFC allows me, I will beat him. Then I’ll go for the belt.”
While it is true Du Plessis does not have any fights booked, he would have to be in a very good mood to accept a match against a tough opponent such as Borralho, who has not even cracked the UFC’s top 15 yet. Borralho is good, yes, and I do think fighters should always try to express themselves, but he if he’s lucky, he ends up against someone in the top 15 next.
Brazilian ‘Ronda Rousey’ vows to be two-division UFC champ
In another prime example of Brazilian fighters taking other fighters’ name as their nicknames, Eduarda Moura lived up to hers in her debut at UFC Sao Paulo. Although “Ronda” did not make weight, she managed to stay undefeated and moved to 9-0 finishing Montserrat Ruiz by TKO in the second round.
In an interview with Ag Fight, a thrilled Moura was happy about the win, but also revealed she has big aspirations for her UFC career. Though she has only just started, the Brazilian already pictures herself as a future strawweight champion and even intends to drop to flyweight and become a UFC double champ before it is all said and done.
“I’m coming. I warned you guys back on Contender Series. I’m different. People will see it. I’ve been evolving so much. Thank God, my team, my coaches, my manager, my family. It’s a collective effort. All athletes know. I already see myself with the belt. You can expect that. It might take two or three years, but I’ll win the belt in this division. Then, I’m moving to flyweight. I want to be a double champion in this promotion.”
Nothing wrong with dreaming, right? She’s talented, albeit a big green. Undefeated fighters can sometimes feel like, well, they can’t be defeated. I like seeing how they return from their first defeat, I feel like that’s more telling than having never lost.
Jungle Fight 121 winners share thoughts on their victories
Time to leave the UFC behind and take a quick look at Brazil’s biggest promotion. On October 28, Jungle Fight 121 also returned to Sao Paulo and put on another exciting card, which had six out of nine matches not going the distance.
Additionally, the event also held two title fights. In its main event, Anderson Nascimento made quick work of Vanderlei Goncalves with a first-round armbar win. However, the 37-year-old could not keep the belt as he did not make weight for the title. Nevertheless, the Brazilian was thrilled about the win and his performance in an interview with Combate.
“Only God and my team know how much I suffered and how much I dedicated myself during my camp and while cutting weight. I reached my limit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make weight. I leave the fight with my head held high, though. Not just because of the win, but for all I’ve gone through until the weight cut and the fight. The weight issue was not a problem, though. It only motivated me more. I love shutting people up. Where are they now?”
While Oliveira could not have the belt for missing weight, Brena Cardozo became the promotion’s new flyweight champion right in her debut, after beating Layze Cerqueira via unanimous decision in the co-main event.
Although Cardozo did not have weight issues, she did explain to Combate how every fight camp is hard on its own since she is a mother of two who often needs to prioritize her family over training.
“I don’t like to make myself look like a victim, but it’s my reality. Everything is difficult for Brazilians. Being Brazilian and a mother, I can’t remember a single camp I was able to dedicate myself 100% because of my daughters. I always miss something because of them. Before I’m an athlete, I’m a mother. If something happens to them, I have to be at home. It’s a massive hardship, but it motivates me to keep going and to achieve my goals.”
Honestly, it sucks that athletes from developing countries need to struggle twice as much to sometimes not even get as far as others. I don’t like how the struggle is romanticized and needs to be part of the process or used as motivation and I’d like to see athletes getting better opportunities right from the start. Still, it’s incredible how Cardozo was able to make it work and win the belt right in her debut.
A Brazilian Beat
I’m keeping it simple for the comeback and honoring a couple of PBM (Popular Brazilian Music, known as MPB in Brazil) legends: maestro Antonio Carlos Jobim (more populary known as Tom Jobim) and Edu Lobo, some of the most influential composers of the bossa nova all the way through the 80’s and early 90’s.
Ever heard of ‘Girl From Ipanema’? Well, then you know a Jobim song (which he co-wrote with Vinicius de Moraes). An acclaimed jazz pianist and guitarist, many consider Jobim to be the creator of the bossa nova genre.
Edu Lobo may be a bit younger and not a trailblazer, but his contributions to music have made him one of the most prolific Brazilian singer/songwriters ever, with a career that spans over 50 years.
In 1981, a veteran Jobim and a young Lobo got together to release one of my favorite PBM albums, aptly named ‘Edu & Tom, Tom & Edu’. The record includes the classic ‘Vento Bravo’ (Angry Wind). A master piece of lyrics, arrangements and interpretation in which both men sing together for the whole track in perfect syntony.
So check it out and enjoy it!
On the off chance anyone speaks Portuguese or is interested in watching how this track was recorded, I highly recommend this clip their recording sessions, when (seemingly drunk) Tom and Edu discuss the best way to mix the track as they go.
That’s all for this week, folks. See you next Monday. Stay safe.
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