The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes its long-awaited return to the country of Brazil this Saturday (August 27). It's a country that -- along with Japan -- helped form the sport we all know and love. Mixed martial arts' (MMA) brutal origins in vale tudo are an integral part of its history as are many of Brazil's native sons. As we head towards UFC 134: "Silva vs. Okami," Viva Brazil! will serve as a celebration of some of those countrymen and a look back at historic moments in the sport involving them.
A big -- nay, HUGE -- deal is being made about tomorrow's (August 27) UFC event in Brazil. And rightfully so because if it wasn't for all the camp feuds, beach fights, and amazing fighters that country produced, mixed martial arts (MMA) as we know it likely wouldn't exist.
And then what reason would Dana White have to curse all the time?
But it's also a big deal because the Octagon hasn't graced the South American country in nearly 13 years. 13 YEARS?! The English went nuts because after getting four events in 2008 and 2009, they've only gotten two the past couple of years and Brazilians have been patiently waiting since everyone and their mama was dancing to "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim.
So what happened during that event anyway? If you don't know, you're in luck because this edition of Viva Brazil! covers just that subject: UFC: Ultimate Brazil!
Strap in, it's time for a stroll down memory lane!
We start off with some local talent in the first couple of fights. Three of these guys are making their professional debut while the fourth only has a few fights under his belt.
After that is when the real fun starts!
We got Ebenezer Fontes Braga who is best known for being one of like, 89 Brazilians that Kazushi Sakuraba beat taking on Jeremy Horn who is best known for having one of the most ridiculous nicknames in MMA, Gumby.
But Horn is also known for his grappling chops. In fact, it could be argued that he was second-in-command at Miletich Fighting Systems when they were churning out champions like Matt Hughes and Tim Sylvia.
Unfortunately, this would not be "Gumby's" night and he ends up on the business end of a guillotine choke putting the home country one to zilch against any and all evil foreigners.
The next two fights are 100% Brazilian free and I'm shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that the crowd didn't riot. Ultimate Brazil? Really? Who are these pale wrestlers?? I'm just saying, Brazilians are known to say, "Eff it," and start rioting. Exhibit A:
EUGÊNIO TADEU X RENZO GRACIE - 1997 - 2 de 4 (via tupyrasg)
Thankfully, no chairs were thrown and the only punches were inside the Octagon. In the fourth bout of the evening, Tsuyoshi Kosaka earned a unanimous decision over Pete Williams to advance in the UFC's heavyweight title tournament. You know, if I was Kosaka, I'd be pissed at Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, AND Dan Henderson for taking away the the title of "Only Man to Ever Beat Fedor" away. But I digress...
The next fight -- which would be the first in two title bouts in the evening -- was the first ever welterweight title fight. Of course, this was before all those pesky, for-the-fighters'-safety rules got in the way and it known as the lightweight strap at the time.
Pat Miletich took on Mikey Burnett and outlasted him after 21 minutes to become the first 170-pound champ. He would, of course, defend a title a number of times before losing it to Carlos Newton to who then drop the strap Miletich's student Matt Hughes. What a tangled web we weave!
Finally, a Brazilian! And it's none other than Pedro Rizzo making his UFC debut! "The Rock" takes on Tank Abbott who by this point had been thoroughly exposed as a one-trick pony. But when you're one trick is knocking dudes out like this:
Then you'll still sell tickets regardless of how many times you lose.
The American bullrushes the Brazilian but doesn't land anything clean. As "The Rock" circles away and backs up, Abbott gives chase, swinging wildly. That's the last thing you want to do with fighting a devastating counter puncher like Rizzo.
The Brazilian cracks Abbott across the jaw and drops him. He's unable to finish him, though, and they're back to their feet. Maurice Smith had laid out the blueprint for how to defeat Abbott without absorbing a whole lot of damage and it's a three-step process: kick the leg, kick the leg again, repeat steps one and two.
So that's what Rizzo does until a takedown puts him on his back for several minutes. After a period of inaction on the mat, the fighters are stood up and "The Rock" goes back to doing what works.
Abbott is exhausted by this point, not hiding the fact at all that he needs to bend over with his hands on his knees to catch a breath. That's when the Brazilian puts him out of his misery.
Oh man, the way Abbott's head snaps to the right is a thing of disgusting beauty.
The co-main event -- I guess as an apology for the three fights on the card that had no hometown boys in them -- is an all-Brazilian affair.
Two guys by the names of Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva. Maybe you heard of them? And maybe you've heard of this fight? If not, this is pretty much the whole thing in all its fantastic, violent glory:
Fun fact: This might have been when "VITOR IS BACK!" was said for the very first time.
And finally, 200-pound champion Frank Shamrock defended his strap against John Lober in the main event. Look, I know Shamrock has become kind of a whipping boy lately what with his awful commentary and his even more awful braces but that guy was a legit bad ass back in the day and somehow, this dude Lober got a win over in in Hawaii.
Lober earned a split decision victory over Shamrock and basically wouldn't shut up about it until the UFC signed him for the rematch.
Shamrock, who realized by then that he didn't suffer no fools, thought Lober quite the fool and made him give up to strikes after about seven minutes.
All in all, it was a fun event and it's a shame that it took the UFC this long to go back to the country that helped started the whole thing.
Here's to tomorrow, folks!