This September will mark a first for the growing Jungle Fight promotion as they head out of their usual home in Manus, Brazil and head to the USA to hold an event at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 9th. On the card co-promoter and MMA veteran Wallid Ismail hopes to assemble the best cast of fighters from previous Jungle Fight shows along with name talent from the US and abroad.
Most prominently featured will be the fighters who performed well at the latest installment of Jungle Fight, which took place this past May. As Ismail himself told MMA Weekly, the show was one to build on as they get ready to make their American Debut.
“It was unbelievable,” exclaimed Ismail. “The last show was the best of all the Jungle Fights. I’m so thankful that the first show was successful and the next one topped that one and they keep getting better each time. Everything went as well as could be expected. Nine of the fights had finishes. Mr. (Antonio) Inoki (co-promoter and head of NJWP) and I were very impressed and we are working on new PPV deals with Brazil, Japan, and America.”
Among the fighters who Ismail hopes to secure for the show include UFC and Pride veterans as well as the fighter made famous by defeating BJ Penn earlier this year and the only man to have defeated current UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin.
“For sure we will have Pele (Jose Landi-Jons) on the show. He is such a terrific and entertaining fighter. He has fought many tough battles and has been in this sport a long time. He’s beaten Pat Miletich and Matt Hughes, so we expect good things from him,” said Ismail.
“Also we are going to have Leopoldo (Montenegro), he’s a very good heavyweight with great Jiu-Jitsu and has only lost to Travis Wiuff. We want to have Vladimir Matyushenko as well; he performed very well at the last Jungle Fight. I know a lot of people want to see Lyoto (Ryoto Machida) because of him beating BJ and Rich so we are going to bring him as well so people can see how good he is. We might even bring his younger brother Shinzo to Vegas, he won his first fight at the last Jungle Fight.”
One of the more interesting possible match-ups includes a proposed rematch between Mark Schultz and Montenegro. As many readers of MMA Weekly may remember, Schultz had made accusations that he was mislead into thinking his initial fight with Montenegro at Jungle Fight 1 was going to be a pro-wrestling style “worked” match. Instead the fight was a full-on MMA bout and resulted in Schultz tapping out to a triangle choke.
Ismail himself refutes the claims made by Schultz and is more than willing to have the two fight again. “I do not understand why he said he was lied to,” said Ismail. “Why would anyone come all the way to Brazil if they didn’t feel they were going to fight? I do not want to start any controversy so I will just say that I respect him and I have a good proposal for him if he wants a rematch against Leopoldo in Vegas.”
Along with the fights Ismail says that there will be an exhibit among other commerce to help bring awareness to the current situation in the Amazon Rain Forrest. As Wallid makes it very clear, the future of the Rain Forrest is very important to him and the organization.
“Jungle Fight is trying to help the people of the Amazon. we want to show people that there is so much the Amazon possesses. We are going to have a large expo to help bring awareness to people. We are bringing artwork and craftwork from Amazon Indians to show people and sell. When you increase the tourism in the region you increase the way for the poor people to make money. In 40-50 years the Amazon could be gone so we must make people aware that there is more ways to make money other than cutting down all the trees,” commented Ismail.
Not only is Jungle Fight taking their show to the US but they also hope to expand to Inoki’s home country of Japan before year’s end. “We are working hard to take the next show to Japan. Who ever performs well and impresses us in Vegas we will bring with us to Japan. Win or lose it doesn’t matter, we want the most exciting fighters to come so the fans have a good time.”
Ismail concluded by saying, “I love what I do. Helping give the new generation of fighters their opportunity to show their skills is very important to me. At the same time we are going to give the veterans a chance to show they can still be exciting. Helping the generations come together is a great feeling. Mr. Inoki is the best promoter in the world and the show will have great production value, it will be a big show. The people are going to be shocked, they are going to see high class fighters giving their all. There is going to be a lot of high energy as the fighters will know who ever wants to go to Japan will have to impress everyone and the fans will get a good show because of it.”