Belfort focused on Couture, endless rumors of Brazilians fighting in Japan, Silva and Mino relaxing and HEAT FC 2 just 11 days away!
The Brazilian Beat:
As December will grace us with plenty of MMA action all around the globe, this column begins the month with plenty of news from the hot summer of Brazil, since this humble reporter has been boosting up his writing once again and trying to keep up the pace with the growth of our sport here in this young country. With shows happening in the most diverse places around globe this month, such as Scandinavia, Russia, America and Japan, Brazil couldn’t be any different, mostly after a busy end of November that saw three shows in a mere 3 days. Like a Christmas gift to Brazilian fans, the month we waited desperately for as kids will bring the two most prestigious MMA shows in the country, HEAT FC and MECA with only two days separating one from the other. I guess this can only be beaten by the always lucky Japanese fans, who will have three top-notch events on the same day to choose! What a way to end 2003, a year that brought us so many emotions in Mixed Martial Arts. However, it’s not time to get emotional as we’ll see in more editions of "The Beat" over the course of the month, and with news regarding all sorts of rumors from Brazilian fighters, and the above mentioned events, it’s better for me to leave you with the news instead of my rhetoric. Whether you’re a Silva fan, Belfort fan, Minotauro and Sperry fan, or even a fan of them all, enjoy our December debut as Full Contact Fighter brings you the Beat, as summer keeps getting hotter here!
- Getting ready for his long awaited rematch against Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort has been training for a good while already, since he at first expected to participate in the last UFC, with rumors flying around some months ago that he would have faced Rich Franklin. However, as he ended up confirmed to face "The Natural" at UFC 46, Vitor slowed down the pace of his preparation a bit to not risk overtraining, and now he is already gearing up his training for the UFC title shot he craved for so much. "The Phenom" told FCF he is very confident going to this fight and is taking the fight as seriously as he ever did. Belfort is now preparing in his new training center, also located in the city of Sao Paulo, but nearer to his house than the ADPM one [Featured in an article here at FCF months ago].
- Three-time MECA winner, IVC Venezuela runner-up and HEAT FC veteran Angelo Araujo seems to be on the verge of finally getting his shot to fight in Japan. The Brazilian Top Team fighter has been rumored to be taking part in the Antonio Inoki New Year’s Eve show against a yet to be named opponent. Reports from the Brazilian Top Team camp have it that Angelo is in shape and ready to perform, as he was training previously for the postponed major Korean MMA show.
- Speaking of Brazilian fighters rumored to be on Japanese New Year’s Eve cards, Chute Boxe fighter Murilo Ninja Rua has been reported to be taking part on the PRIDE December 31st card, also against a yet to be named opponent. Ninja was supposed to fight at MECA 10 in Brazil, but with this gig in PRIDE appearing after a year since his last professional appearance, his brother Mauricio Shogun Rua is supposed to take his place at MECA as Murilo goes to Japan to resume his fighting career.
- Another PRIDE veteran who is reported to be returning to the Japanese ring on December 31st is none other than the manager, promoter, trainer and still a top level fighter Mario Sperry! The "Zen Machine" is taking part at the next PRIDE card and is still waiting to find out his opponent in the show. Sperry has been training very hard and told FCF he is feeling like a kid again, and is eager to fight after all the promoting activities he has been performing. Rumors have it that his opponent may be a very famous American fighter, time will tell.
- PRIDE Middleweight Champion and Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Wanderlei Silva has been relaxing after his conquest of the PRIDE Middleweight GP, defeating both Hidehiko Yoshida and Quinton Jackson on the same night. "The Axe Murderer" took his wife and 3-month-old son and traveled all the way up to the gorgeous city of Natal, home of HEAT FC, in the Northeast of Brazil to enjoy the sun and the beaches there. During his vacation Silva has been taking his time to rest and enjoy his family, while he had the pleasure of checking out the preparations for HEAT FC 2 Evolution, next December 18th. Wanderlei is likely coming back to Curitiba Monday and is recovering fine from his elbow surgery.
- PRIDE Heavyweight interim champion Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira has also been enjoying his moments of glory, which are not rare for him, after his win over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at the last PRIDE show. Minotauro went to Curitiba where he received some tributes at the last STORM Samurai event, and he is soon traveling to his birth city of Vitoria da Conquista, in the state of Bahia also in the Northeast of Brazil, where he will once again receive an homage and also attend at an small MMA event that will take place in his city, to honor him and give something back to the sport that made famous the most important son of Vitoria da Conquista.
- Scheduled at first to take place in the city of Porto Alegre at December 20th, the 10th edition of MECA Vale Tudo won’t take place in the Southern Brazil city anymore. According to reports one company that was serving as a partner in the project of bringing MECA to the city backed out, and now the show is likely coming back to the city of Curitiba, hometown of the Chute Boxe team that held MECA for its first 8th editions, in a venue to be decided. According to the promoters, the show will keep its date of December 20th, and more information is expected to follow in the coming days.
- Jungle Fight veteran Leopoldo Montenegro, who defeated famous Wrestler Mark Schultz in a match full of controversy, just won an 8-man MMA tournament in his hometown of Manaus, up in the North of Brazil, in a small event. The sad news is that the show was reported to have no gloves, and believe it or not no mouthpiece! Montenegro got prize money amounting to 5,000 Reais [around US$1,700] for winning the tournament. In this day and age, shows that won’t require at least a mouthpiece are just what some politicians may need to ban our sport and with so much struggle to make MMA grow again in Brazil, having people trying to take advantage of the momentum putting up shows such as these is extremely sad and what can be called a disgrace. Hopefully the sport will soon find some form of a regulation and only serious promoters will be able to handle it from now on. Hopefully Montenegro will find better places and stages to show his talent in the near future as well.
- Plans for a major MMA show taking place next January in the city of Rio de Janeiro have been floating around Brazil for a while already, and now are getting stronger and stronger. Global Mix Combat, as the show is called, is reported to take place the last week of January at Rio Centro, the same venue where Rock In Rio Festivals I and III took place, and will feature not only MMA fights but live bands doing gigs as well as DJs to entertain the crowd and mix fighting with partying in the hot summer of Rio. Names such as Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz and Marcio Feitosa are supposed to make their MMA debuts in the show.
- UFC veteran Pedro Rizzo is already back in Brazil after his trip to Las Vegas, where he held talks with representatives of fighting organizations about his future. Pedro told FCF he hasn’t closed any deal yet, but talks are going well and he will have good news for his fans about his future very soon. Now "The Rock" is focused on his teammate Gustavo "Ximu" preparation for his bout against Allan Goes at HEAT FC 2 on December 18th.
- Another major Jiu-Jitsu event is going to take place in Brazil as Summer Combat will bring the action to the beach in the city of Guaruja, near Sao Paulo, on December 12th and 13th. Taking place in an arena located on the beach, the show will feature single matches and will include famous Jiu-Jitsu names such as Saulo Ribeiro, Fernando Terere, Jorge "Macaco" Patino and Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz, among others. In one very interesting challenge, Abu Dhabi 2003 champion Marcelo Garcia will face Adu Dhabi Brazilian Trials 2003 champion Daniel Moraes.
- Time is coming for the second edition of HEAT FC, on December 18th in the city of Natal, including fighters such as Carlos Barreto, Ebenezer Braga, Allan Goes, Gustavo Ximu, Travis Wiuff, Forrest Griffin, Vinicius Draculino, Eric Wanderlei and others. As everything gets ready for the much anticipated show, entitled "Evolution," tickets are on sale now in the city, as advertisements of the show are being aired every day on TV creating hype among the local fans. Promoters are still looking for the best possible opponent for Gracie Barra fighter Marcelo "Uirapuru" Azevedo, who fought Renato Babalu at HEAT FC 1, with the withdrawal of PRIDE veteran Akira Shoji. Local fighter and BJJ brown belt World Champion Alexandre "Vaca" may end up being his opponent, as Alexandre was also left without an opponent when Roman Roytberg also had to step out of the card. Both guys’ opponents are likely to be announced in the following days, as HEAT FC 2 Evolution is just 11 days away!