It's been a strange ride for the Ultimate Fighter Brazil (a show I'll admit I haven't watched a lot of). What was a huge success, and widely reported/tracked series, last year, has been a largely absentee phenomena this year. It's fair to say that this season is more notable for how little press it's garnered stateside rather than any of the fights or fighters that have appeared on it. In fact, the biggest piece of news to come out of the show all season was that it may have been canceled.
Perhaps then, it's not so surprising that of an initial 28 fighter field (and over 300 initial applicants), only 2 will be making their way to the UFC immediately. Those two fighters are William "Patolino" Macario and Leonardo Santos. Santiago Ponzinibbio was originally scheduled to face William Patolino, but broke his hand during his semifinal match. He defeated Santos by unanimous decision after a "tiebreaker" round. There is no word yet if Ponzinibbio will get a shot in the UFC, although I expect he will once he is recovered from injury.
"Patolino," who bears something of a resemblance to Melvin Guillard (at least for the sake of easy identification) is a powerful striker and good all around prospect. He's only 21 years old, and has an undefeated record at 6-0, with only one fight making it past the first round. He's slowly been developing his game from a pure power striker mentality and showed some decent wrestling and Jiu Jitsu in his last pre-TUF fight with a first round submission.
On the other side, Leonardo Santos (brother of Wagnney Fabiano) is something of a journeyman. At 33 he's gone 11-3 in his MMA career fighting largely in Japan for Sengoku and in Brazil for Shooto Brazil. He actually made his pro debut against Takanori Gomi in 2002, losing a majority decision that suggests more good things about him as a fighter than bad. Outside of MMA he is an accomplished BJJ grappler, having won the World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup four times.
This has the makings of a classic striker vs. grappler match-up with Patolino having racked up 5 wins by TKO/KO and Santos having won his last two fights by technical submission. For a season of TUF that has been largely overlooked these fighters both appear to bring promising skills with them to the UFC.
UFC on Fuel TV: Nogueira vs. Werdum takes place June 8th in Fortaleza, Brazil. Here's the card as it currently stands:
Fuel TV Card:
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Fabricio Werdum
William Patolino vs. Leonardo Santos
Thiago Silva vs. Rafael Cavalcante
Erick Silva vs. Jason High
Daniel Sarafian vs. Eddie Mendez
Rony Jason vs. Mike WIlkinson
Raphael Assuncao vs. Vaughan Lee
Ronny Markes vs. Derek Brunson
Godofredo Pepey vs. Felipe Arantes
Ildemar Alcantara vs. Leandro Silva
Rodrigo Damm vs. Mizuto Hirota
Caio Magalhaes vs. Karlos Vemola
Antonio Braga Neto vs. Anthony Smith