TUF Brazil 2: 5 Favorites to Win the Show
The cast of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 was recently announced, with 28 men gracing the show. Eventually, 14 men will make it into the house, and two of those 14 will get a second chance at a wild-card spot should they lose.
Interestingly enough, the show hosts five fighters from Nova Uniao and three from Renovacao Fight Team. This means we could see some teammates facing off for a chance to gain a six-figure contract with the UFC.
Here are five favorites to win the show and earn that life-changing contract.
The man kicking off our list is normally a lightweight but will fight up at 170 for a chance to earn a roster spot with the UFC. That man is Leonardo Santos.
Santos is a member of the Nova Uniao camp and took his first professional fight in 2002.
Santos has earned seven taps in his career, showing his high-level abilities on the ground. His weapon of choice on the mat has been the arm-triangle choke, which has accounted for four of those submission victories.
Santos has experience in the squared circle with respected veterans such as Takanori Gomi and Kazunori Yokota. Add to that the fact he owns victories over Jason Ball and UFC veteran Mark Holst, and you have an experienced, dangerous fighter on the cast.
Luiz Dutra, Jr.
30-year-old Luiz Dutra, Jr. is a 10-year MMA pro representing Renovacao Fight Team. At 5'11", he is a short welterweight, but he is physically powerful as well.
Dutra has faced some tough competition throughout his career and has only lost twice. That said, he earned victories over respected veterans Arni Isaksson and Rodrigo Ribeiro, as well as UFC veterans Luis Ramos and Fabricio Camoes (twice).
He has fought to a lot of decisions, but don't let that fool you. He is a well-rounded guy and a tough out for any man he steps in the cage with.
Viscardi Andrade, who represents Gracie Fusion, is another well-rounded guy who has fought high-level competition in his career (UFC veterans Charles Oliveira and Yuri Alcantara, among others).
Andrade has lost one fight in his last 11, despite having five blemishes in total on his record. He has knockout power in his hands, as well as grappling ability once the fight hits the mat.
Look for Andrade to use that power to make a push for the season championship.
If the name Yan Cabral sounds familiar to you, it may be because he defeated one of the biggest legends in the sport. Sure, Kazushi Sakuraba was past his prime, but out-grappling and choking out Sakuraba was a huge feather in Cabral's cap.
The Nova Uniao product is undefeated in his career, with all 10 wins coming via submission. His favorite move is the arm-triangle choke, which accounts for half of his submission wins, but he has also utilized two armbars, two kimuras and a rear-naked choke.
I doubt anyone in the house is going to want to grapple with this guy.
Pedro Irie may not have the most attractive record, but the man has faced some very high-quality talent. He has done so with mixed results, but, nonetheless, Irie is a tough guy who is never out of a fight.
A list of Irie's victims include Bellator veteran Sam Quito, top Brazilian talent Cassiano Castanho and UFC veteran Luis Ramos. He valiantly fought and fell to UFC veteran Luis Santos, Strikeforce vet Adriano Martins and another top Brazilian in Daniel Acacio.
That type of resume will have him ready for anybody the show throws at him. The knockout artist could provide some fun knockouts if he lasts long in the competition.
And remember: Records don't mean anything. Rodrigo Damm was also 9-5 coming into TUF: Brazil, and he was a semifinalist who only got kicked from the competition due to injury.