by Ivan Canello – MMAWeekly.com
Everybody knows the IFL team MMA concept that is growing in North America, but now that concept has made its way to Brazil.
The IFL has pushed the team concept in America and garnered much attention with the high profile coaches they enlisted, coaches like Bas Rutten, Pat Miletich, Frank Shamrock and more. The MTL (MO Team League), the Brazilian counterpart not affiliated with the IFL, has chosen a similar approach utilizing some of the biggest names in Brazilian MMA to coach its teams. Wanderlei Silva, Murilo Bustamante, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Pedro Rizzo are set to coach the new contenders.
The coaches where chosen by the Reunion Company (which runs car races in Brazil similar to NASCAR in America). According to Nizan Guanaes, chairman of Ypi Group and Reunion Associated, the team MMA potential here in Brazil is huge.
“There are some big opportunities to be explored in the fight universe. My idea is to put the methodology that we used in the stock car [races], where we have doubled the sponsors and we get 4 big car companies in one single category. It’s definitely a success case,” explains Guanaes.
One of the coordinators of the league, four-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion, Fabio Gurgel also states, “This kind of [fighting] is a pioneer model in Brazil. This concept allows us to invite international stars to participate in the event.”
Last Saturday the athletes were picked by their coaches and the teams were formed at a meeting with all the coaches and the organizers in a big restaurant in Rio de Janeiro.
Wanderlei said that he had luck even with the name of his team, “I got all the athletes I wanted to and I wanted the Hurricane name. I hope this luck continues when the competition starts.”
Murilo Bustamante was also very happy when he got the right to choose before the other coaches who his 155-pound representative will be. “I was hopping to get Luciano Azevedo on my team. I am very satisfied,” he declared.
Rogerio Nogueira that was in Bahia training for his boxing fights coming up at the Pan Ams, so was unable to attend. ” I am going to call them right now to be sure they are already training their butts off,” he said laughing.
Finally, Pedro Rizzo said, “The level of the fighters were so good that even the coaches that have picked their fighters last were satisfied.”
The first event will feature Bustamante’s Wild Fires against Silva’s Hurricanes on August 11th and the second meeting will be Nogueira’s Avalanches against Rizzo’s Tsunamis on September 29th.
The teams are:
HURRICANE (Wanderlei Silva)
155 lb – Jean Silva
170 lb – Flávio Álvaro
185 lb – Rafael Sapo
205 lb – Rafael Monteiro
265 lb – André Mussi
WILD FIRE (Murilo Bustamante)
155 lb – Luciano Azevedo
170 lb – Gerson Conceição
185 lb – Silmar Rodrigo
205 lb – Alexandre Cacareco
265 lb – Joaquim Mamute
TSUNAMI (Pedro Rizzo)
155 lb – Leonardo Santos
170 lb – André Chatuba
185 lb – Mauricio Alonso
205 lb – Jair Sorriso
265 lb – Walter Broca
AVALANCHE (Antonio Rogério Nogueira)
155 lb – Rafael Mantega
170 lb – Sergio Moraes
185 lb – Julio Cesar Field Almeida
205 lb – Erick Wanderlei
265 lb – Fábio Maldonado
And the Card will be:
August 11: Wild Fire (Bustamante) vs. Hurricane (Silva)
155 lb: Luciano Azevedo vs. Jean Silva
170 lb: Gerson Conceição vs. Flavio Alvaro
185 lb: Silmar Rodrigo vs. Rafael Sapo
205 lb: Alexandre Cacareco vs. Rafael Monteiro
265 lb: Joaquim Mamute vs. André Mussi
September 29: Tsunami (Rizzo) vs. Avalanche (Nogueira)
155 lb: Leonardo Santos vs. Rafael Manteiga
170 lb: André Chatuba vs. Sérgio Moraes
185 lb: Mauricio Alonso vs. Julio Cesar Field
205 lb: Jair Sorriso vs. Erick Wanderlei
265 lb: Walter Broca vs. Fabio Maldonado