Since we're all not up to speed on the backgrounds and fighting styles of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) participants, the following is a compilation of past fight videos for the TUF Brazil 2 cast, which was unveiled in full today. Elite Brazilian heavyweights Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum will serve as opposing coaches this season, which will focus strictly on the welterweight class. The show will debut March 17th on Globo TV in Brazil and will also air on Fuel TV somewhere down the road.
Leonardo Santos (11-3, 7 subs, 1 KO)
In my opinion, 33-year-old Nova Uniao welter/lightweight Leo Santos is the most notable entry and should be considered a healthy favorite to win it all. If Leo's name sounds familiar, it probably stems from this video of him nailing a silky smooth flying armbar on Georges St. Pierre at the 2005 ADCC tournament.
Santos, a decorated sport grappler, is the brother of former WEC and current Bellator fighter Wagnney Fabiano and the cousin of Nova Uniao co-founder Wendell Alexander, both of whom facilitated his entry to BJJ and MMA. Santos did not ease into his MMA career -- he took on Takanori Gomi in a 2002 Shooto bout for his pro debut and then tackled Chute Boxe mauler Jean Silva in his third match. His only other loss is a 2009 split decision to feisty ground technician Kazunori Yokota in Sengoku, and Santos will ride a 5-fight win streak (with 3 submissions) into the show.
Luiz Jorge "Besouro" Dutra Jr. (11-2-1, 3 TKO's, 3 subs)
"Besouro" is another favorite in the early running. Hailing from the Renovacao Fight Team -- Marcio "Cromado" Barbosa's Luta Livre based academy that produced Bellator fighters Maiquel Falcao and Luis Alberto Nogueira -- Dutra Jr. already has some UFC-level competition under his belt. He holds a pair of victories over former UFC lightweight Fabricio Camoes and one over Luis Ramos; UFC welterweight Paulo Thiago accounts for one of his defeats, but "Besouro" wrenched his knee in the early going and lost by TKO via injury.
Yan Cabral (10-0, 10 submissions)
Another Nova Uniao entry, Cabral got some attention for submitting the formerly untappable Kazushi Sakuraba with an arm-triangle at DREAM 17. Cabral is undefeated in his 6-year career and has finished all 10 opponents by submission, though he's been on the shelf since his 2011 win over Sakuraba. I'm uncertain about his exact grappling accomplishments, but he gave Kron Gracie a decent run. Video of that match is directly below and followed by a mixed BJJ/MMA highlight reel of Cabral from Youtube.
Leandro "Buscape" Silva (10-0, 7 subs)
Bruno Dias "Jacare" (16-4, 11 subs, 4 TKO's)
Dias is a stablemate of "Buscape" at the Macaco Gold Team and one of the more experienced contestants with 20 total fights. 2011 was an unkind year for Dias, who dropped 3-consecutive matches by 1st-round submission. In his remaining 13 outings, his only loss came at the hands of UFC bantamweight Johnny Eduardo.
Thiago "Jambo" Goncalves (15-3, 3 subs, 1 TKO)
This wide-bodied Team Nogueira rep is a strong welterweight who's won 11 of 15 by decision. "Jambo" faced former UFC vets Nick Thompson (in his pro debut) and Luigi Fioravanti (in his 4th fight). In his 15 outings since the Fioravanti loss in 2005, Goncalves' only blemishes are a split decision loss and a No Contest. He recently defeated Team Grabaka's Eiji Ishikawa at Bittetti Combat 8.
Cleiton "Foguete" Duarte (12-1, 11 TKO's, 1 sub)
Duarte is a crowd-pleasing striker with electric stoppages in all 12 wins. Training out of the Team Mota, Duarte started his MMA career in 2003 but didn't fight again until 2009.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series with fight footage of the remaining TUF Brazil 2 cast.