Arch rivalsVitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva in TUF Brazil publicity photo
TUF Brazil will hit the airwaves on Sunday, March 25, on Brazil’s Globo, the most popular network channel in the South American nation, as well as on the Multishow and Canal Combate cable channels on alternate days. For the season opener, 32 fighters face off to determine the 16 who will make it into the UFC reality show, the first ever with all Brazilian athletes.
To arrive at the 32 frontrunners, the UFC held tryouts in São Paulo, for which more than 500 signed up. The first mission for the hopefuls was to show their ground skills for 90 seconds.
“The ones who show they know Jiu-Jitsu go on to do hit the mitts,” explained Dana White in images that should be broadcast on Sunday. “At the end of the season, the champion gets a UFC contract. But I hope to make it to the end with at least five or six extremely talented guys and one or two who can become champions. I want guys who dedicated their lives to this, to whom the only thing that matters is becoming UFC champion,” said the promotional president.
“The secret is to attack where you’re good”
Gilbert Durrinho, one of the coaches on the green team, led by Vitor Belfort, commented on the participants’ level in Jiu-Jitsu. “A number of the ones who qualified showed they have high-level Jiu-Jitsu. Some got the tapout two, three times. With a slick ground game and determination to be on the show, you can make your breakthrough,” said the black belt, who offered pointers for the next selection process: “As you don’t have much time, the fighter has to go to what he does best. If you’re good at the guard, pull guard; if you’re good at takedowns, try for the takedown. And so on.”
TUF Brazil will last for 13 weeks, and the 16 fighters, divided into blue and green teams, led by Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort, respectively, face off in a simple elimination system, until four finalists are left: two in the featherweight (under-145 lbs/66 kg) weight class and two at middleweight (185 lbs/84 kg). The program has already been shot; however, the results are kept under lock and key by secrecy clauses at the UFC’s behest. The TUF finalists, along with Vitor and Wand, will face off at Engenhão stadium in June.
Check out who faces who on the show to take place this coming Sunday. And then watch a submission by one of the TUF candidates for stardom.
Featherweight (under 145 lbs/66kg):
Godofredo Pepey vs Johnny Gonçalves
Rony Jason Mariano vs Dileno Lopes
Hugo Wolverine vs Alexandre Sangue
Rodrigo Damm vs Fabricio Guerreiro
Fernando Guerra vs Wagner Galeto
John Teixeira vs Giovanni Soldado
Anistávio Gasparzinho vs Rafael Bueno
Marcus Vinícius vs Pedro Nobre
Middleweight (under 185 lbs/84kg):
Charles Maicon vs Francisco Massaranduba
Cezar Mutante vs Gustavo Labareda
Daniel Sarafian vs Richardson Monstrão
Sergio Moraes vs Thiago Rela
Tiago Bodão vs João Paulo Tuba
Fabio Bolinho vs Renee Forte
Gilberto Giba vs Delson Pé de Chumbo
Leonardo Macarrão vs Samuel Trindade