For the first time ever, Brazil’s television powerhouse Globo broadcast a Jiu-Jitsu world champion performing a submission. During the final leg of the TUF Brazil middleweight quarterfinals, Sergio Moraes of team Alliance sunk a rear-naked choke on another former world champion, Delson “Pé de Chumbo” of Gracie Pitbull 4:27 minutes into their tilt.
This news alone, bringing Vitor Belfort’s Green Team to a 7-1 lead, would be cause enough to celebrate TUF Brazil being on the air. However, there are other ways of assessing the reality show’s success. By numbers, for example. And we’re not talking about TV ratings.
After all, studies shown that masses of television spectators automatically tune in to Globo channel, especially on Sundays. So how’s about taking Twitter as an alternative barometer for gauging how the show is doing?
At the outset of TUF Brazil, now two months into the season, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva had a combined total of a little over 500,000 followers on Twitter—Vitor at around 280,00 and Wanderlei at 250,000.
Today, Wand’s count is approaching 26,000, while Vitor, with more wins on the program, leapt to 387,000—more than the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, whose tally is at 382,000. Is there any doubt that TUF had something to do with this spike in numbers?
SERGIO MORAES ON A ROLL
But the trainers aren’t the only ones gaining fame. Serginho Moraes, without a single post to his name but already at 1,200 followers, put in a stellar performance yesterday with his display of modern Jiu-Jitsu.
Having defended a leg kick and put Pé de Chumbo on the ground, the two-time world champ set about passing guard but the two returned to their feet. On the second opportunity, however, Moraes was unforgiving.
Holder of 2008 and 2011 world titles, a silver after closing out with Marcelo Garcia in 2009 and a bronze from 2010, the native of the São Paulo town of Itaquera responded to a Pé de Chumbo takedown by flipping him and landing on top in half-guard. From there he worked at a guillotine while taking mount before taking his opponent’s back and finishing by rear-naked choke at the tail end of round one.
“The biggest credit to Sérgio there was his fighting to use his Jiu-Jitsu the whole time,” remarked his coach Fabio Gurgel. “The most valuable lesson to learn from this is to believe in the basics. In Jiu-Jitsu, after so many years of training, the ABCs can be the breakthrough.”
Moraes now joins Cezar Mutante, Daniel Sarafian and Thiago Bodão in the middleweight divisional semifinals. The four through to the next stage in the featherweight division are Hugo Wolverine, Rony Jason, Godofredo Pepey and Rodrigo Damm.
So far the semifinal matchups have not been announced; however, the 7-1 drubbing Vitor Belfort’s team has dealt Wanderlei Silva’s obliged the powers behind TUF to reshuffle the athletes, drawing tears from Belfort and sarcasm from Wanderlei, the two of whom will face off on June 23 at Mineirinho Stadium in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
In the face of the routing, UFC president Dana White decided to step in. Via a video-conferencing call, he determined that Vitor should send three of his athletes to Blue Team. If the coach were not inclined to do so, White said he would pick who gets transferred himself. Put off and emotional, Belfort designated Sergio Moraes, Thiago Bodão and Godofredo Pepey as the athletes to be transferred to the team of Wanderlei Silva, who in turn sent Vina, Reneé Forte and Pé de Chumbo the other way.
“Did you see him crying? He should win an Oscar,” posted Wand on Twitter, stoking the fire of the eternal battle waging between the two—one not limited only to followers on the microblog. So who wins come June? Let us know your picks in the comments field below.