If you go back and watch many of the early videos from Pride Fighting Championships and see fighters like Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, you’ll likely see another familiar face that will soon become even more familiar.
During the rise of the famous Brazilian Chute Boxe camp, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach Cristiano Marcello was at the forefront helping the careers of fighters like Silva and Rua as they made their way through the Japanese fight scene.
Marcello was also working on his own fight career as he helped advance athletes at the Chute Boxe academy. He infamously had an incident at Pride in Japan in 2005 when he choked out former EliteXC fighter Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett in the backstage area after an altercation between the two competitors.
Now Marcello is focusing solely on his own fight career, and he will look for a jump start next Friday when he debuts as one of the competitors on the Ultimate Fighter season 15, also known as TUF Live.
Marcello has gone 3-0 in his last three fights, and he’s hopeful to keep that streak alive when he debuts along 31 other lightweights on the new season of the show debuting on FX.
“I have committed my life to the martial arts both as a competitor and coach since I was 10 years old. All I know is fighting,” Marcello told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday. “It is my passion and a part of my core. The opportunity to compete on the first TUF that will premiere on FX is something I am very excited about. I intend to do whatever I can to make it into the house, and display some great fights for the fans.”
Marcello worked for years to make his students better, and now the teacher looks to better his own career with the launching pad that helped fighters like Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, and Michael Bisping become household names.
“Cristiano Marcello is one of the most talented fighters I have worked with,” said Nima Safapour from Alchemist Management, who represents Marcello. “He has an accomplished resume as both a top fighter and elite MMA coach. I am confident that he will be able to showcase his skills on the first FX TUF. Cris plans to make great fights, and to also make most of the opportunity.”
There are no free passes into The Ultimate Fighter house, however. Marcello has the same opportunity as the other 31 lightweights, and to make it into the house, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt must first fight his way there.
Marcello will compete on next Friday’s TUF 15 debut card that airs on FX starting at 9 p.m. ET in a special two-and-a-half-hour broadcast that will showcase all 16 fights.