There were sportstars from all styles, even the so-called strongest man in the world was there, tearing up phone books with his bare hands. But for those who like technique, the true stars at the Brazil Sports Show event held at Bienal do Ibirapuera were indeed the Jiu-Jitsu and MMA fighters.
In attendance, Junior Cigano spoke of what he expects in his heavyweight title fight against Cain Velasquez. The Brazilian classified the bout as being the “greatest challenge of my life.”
Cigano will face off with Velasquez November 19 in the champion’s hometown of San Jose, California, in the UFC 139 main event.
“The Cain fight is confirmed. I expect the best. It will, without a doubt, be the biggest challenge of my career. The crowd will be against me, but Brazilians can rest assured I’ll do what I must in the octagon to take that belt back to Brazil with me,” said Cigano.
Cigano was at Brazil Sports Show to hold a workshop for fans and MMA practitioners where he taught lessons and pointers on technique, gave demonstrations and instructions on training and preparations. “It was awesome. I loved doing this workshop, I really love the contact with the fans, and it’s great to spread MMA and sports around the country even more. They’re to be commended on the idea, it’s good for everyone across the board,” he remarked.
Besides Cigano, there were other MMA idols holding workshops – drawing hundreds of students. On Saturday the 13th it was UFC featherweight champion and top fighter of 2010 José Aldo’s turn, as well as Lyoto Machida, the holder of the UFC light heavyweight belt between 2009 and 2010.
The to also took part in a round table discussion on stage alongside Fabio Gurgel, a teacher and one of the most highly regarded names in Jiu-Jitsu history; and Jorge “Joinha” Guimarães, the manager handling the careers of Aldo and Lyoto, not to mention Anderson Silva and brothers Rodrigo Minotauro and Rogério Minotouro.
For around an hour, the participants spoke about UFC Rio, now two weeks away; as well as past fights, fights forthcoming, recent occurrences in world MMA, and some curiosities about the sport, as well as taking questions from the audience.
“I feel it was a great event. I had the chance to hold an MMA workshop and really liked how I got to interact so much with the students during the clinic and with the fans in the auditorium. It was great. Events like Brazil Sports Show are really important helping sports and everyone who makes a living through them,” said Aldo.
“The event was wonderfully organized and we got great feedback. It was really important to note how everyone was profoundly interested, and that’s the coolest part of the event. What’s important is that with MMA being broadcast across Brazil by television we’re popularizing the sport and drawing sponsors, which is opening up a lot of people’s eyes,” stated Machida.
“Besides the fighters, there were also athletes from other sports, like soccer team Corinthians’ goal keeper Julio Cesar, world champion swimmer Felipe França, synchronized swimming’s twins Bia and Branca Feres. “Every time I go to China, the USA, Europe, everyone is talking about how much sport in Brazil has evolved. We’re growing all the time, and having a gathering like this helps us show it all the more,” said Felipe.
“Brazilian mentality has evolved a lot. In the old days, it was focused solely on soccer. Now, everyone is paying attention to different styles. Having this variety in sport is great to make Brazil stronger in the sporting field,” said the goal keeper. “The only reason I can play soccer now is because someone backed me and helped me out. And all I really needed was some gloves and cleats. Imagine for other sports, where you need a lot of things, more expensive equipment,” he said in finishing.