American Top Team's Wilson Gouveia (12-7) has inked a big return to mixed martial arts -- Monday he signed a multi-fight deal with Maximum Fighting Championship and will fight Canadian star "Big Deal" Ryan Jimmo (12-1) at MFC 25: Vindication at the Winspear Centre/Enmax Hall in Edmonton, Alberta April 9.
Wednesday, Gouveia told MaximumFighting.com, "I’m excited! I have friends that fight for MFC and they all tell me good things." The event will broadcast live on HDNet and feature a soon to be announced major title fight. T
The matchup marks Gouveia's return to 205 pounds after a disastrous stint fighting at middleweight. The Brazilian lost consecutive stoppages to Nate "The Great" Marquardt (29-8-2) and Alan "The Talent" Belcher (15-6) at 185 pounds, missed weight by three pounds before a victory over fellow MFC fighter "The Athlete" Jason MacDonald (22-13), and won his middleweight debut over Ryan Jensen (14-6).
Gouveia moved to middleweight because he thought he’d be one of the bigger guys in that division, but never wore 185 pounds confidently. He looked gaunt at weigh-ins and fought with diminished ferociousness.
"It was too much sacrifice and too hard, man," said Gouveia about his time at middleweight. "I’m a professional. I do this for a living and I love it, but I don’t like to miss weight, you know? And, I would pass out in the sauna and guys would drag me out and say, ‘You have to stop this.’ It was just too much sacrifice and too hard on my body."
At light heavyweight, however, Gouveia bulldozed through four consecutive stoppage victories over "Soldier" Wes Combs (14-4), Kimbo Slice-killer "Silverback" Seth Petruzelli (11-4), "Fury" Carmelo Marrero (10-4), and "Punisher" Jason Lambert (23-11).
"I hope the fans will see that I’m a better, more exciting fighter at 205 pounds," said Gouveia. But, Gouveia will have a big challenge in "Big Deal" Ryan Jimmo, who is on a 12-fight winning streak dating back to April 2007.
Jimmo returned to MFC in May 2009 and has racked up three decision victories over Mychal Clark (6-9) and veteran fighters "The Beastman" Marvin Eastman (16-12-1) and "The Hardcore Kid" Emanuel Newton (12-6-1). Jimmo is peaking!
Like the world’s top light heavyweight "The Dragon" Lyoto Machida (16-0), Jimmo has transitioned a traditional karate background into success in MMA:
"My karate training has taught me not so much the fighting techniques but great discipline, focus and work ethic," Jimmo explains. "It’s taught me to understand a system of fighting and understand how to learn it in a more efficient manner. The athleticism and physicality are great attributes. I found my kicks are a step above most MMA practitioners as well as my footwork. There are two sides to most karate systems, traditional and sport and both have attributes that warrant praise. My time in karate has been invaluable in my life and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it."
Gouveia told MFC.com about his opponent, "I don’t know much about him. I know he’s a big, muscle guy and he’s a good guy. His record shows that. But, I train with some big guys: Luiz Cane, Thiago Silva, ‘Big Foot’ Antonio Silva. These are strong guys." Gouveia added, "I haven’t fought a karate guy since Seth Petruzelli. He liked to show a karate stance too."
Of course, Gouveia submitted Petruzelli in a guillotine choke, but Jimmo has never been submitted. There’ll be a lot on the line when these two fighters matchup at MFC 25: Vindication at the Winspear Centre/Enmax Hall in Edmonton, Alberta April 9.