If MMA can be said to have a birthplace, a singular point of origin on a map of the world, that place must undoubtedly be Brazil.
Long before the bright lights and big stars of the modern era, brutal, unregulated Vale Tudo fights—contested bare-knuckle in carnival tents throughout the Brazillian countryside—were the breeding ground of modern MMA.
The famous “Gracie Challenge” issued by practitioners of Gracie BJJ to other martial artists was the progenitor of today's UFC.
So with the recent confirmation from Dana White that the UFC is planning a show in Rio De Janerio for 2011—the first UFC event in the country of Brazil in over a decade—it can safely be said that the sport of MMA is coming home.
While the economy of Brazil is currently surging, it is still a relatively poor nation overall. The recent landslides have been an added strain on the populace.
If the UFC wants to convince Brazilians to shell out to live event in the numbers, they need to make the trip profitable and provide an absolutely stacked card.
Luckily, with the UFC roster overflowing with talented Brazilian fighters in every weight class, putting on a big card with a local flavour will be no problem.
Without further ado, here is my dream card for “Ultimate Rio”—one that maximizes hometown appeal, big-time fights and casual (read: pay-per-view) fan appeal.