Rodolfo Vieira, Bruno Malfacine use BJJ to finish at Shooto Brazil 74

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Rodolfo struck from the top before shooting for a kata-gatame. Carlos Arthur Jr.

Shooto Brazil 74 took place last night in Rio, inaugurating the Upper Arena, a space built by Nova União to hold its new training center, as well as MMA events such as this one. Eleven bouts were scheduled, with two being particularly anticipated by the crowd.

BJJ world champions Rodolfo Vieira and Bruno Malfacine set their gis aside and entered the cage determined to finish. Rodolfo was doing his second MMA fight, whereas Bruno was debuting in the sport.

Rodolfo did the co-main event in the light heavyweight division. His adversary was supposed to be Natalício “Mototaxista,” but Natalício had to drop out last-minute and was replaced by Fagner Rackchtal (2w, 3l).

Rodolfo started with a good standing base, but Rackchtal’s hard strikes were scary. Takedowns were hard to apply. Wise to the world champion’s game, Rackchtal would sprawl and work competently on the mesh to contain the takedowns. In round two, Rodolfo did better. The GFTeam representative managed a takedown, attempted a guillotine, and attacked an arm, but was pushed back each time. The last round saw both fighters give signs of exhaustion, but Rodolfo pushed himself to hold Rackchtal in a single-leg against the mesh; then he took a deep breath and pulled him down. After working on top, Rodolfo reached the mount and threw punches to open up space and sink a kata-gatame, with just 15 seconds to go.

“He’s an experienced athlete, you know?” Rodolfo said afterwards. “He hit me hard on my stomach and head. I didn’t know how taking him down was gonna go, and it was quite hard. I sank the armbar properly, but he escaped. We were very tired in round three, but I went with my heart. When I mounted and sank the kata-gatame, I knew I had him — it’s a strong position of mine.”

Bruno Malfacine was elated with his victorious debut in MMA. Eduardo Ferreira

Bruno Malfacine stepped inside the cage with nine world championships to his name. The flyweight took on Romário Boaes and didn’t wait long to reach into his toolbox. After a bit of striking, Malfacine shortened the distance, went for the legs, took his opponent down and struck him from the top. Malfacine lassoed an arm from the mount, but suffered a reversal. From the bottom on the guard, he shot for a triangle, achieving the win little more than one minute in.

“My debut was incredible,” he said later. “The fight went according to the plan, which was to take it to the ground. I wanted to test myself a bit on my feet, but I got kicked and wanted to impose my game soon; I acted on instinct and took it to the ground. I attacked from the top, tried to finish from the mount; he reversed it due to my mistake, but then I launched a good attack on his arm.”

“Jiu-jitsu saves!” he concluded.

On top of solid performances by BJJ world champions, the audience got to see three new Shooto champions crowned. Geraldo Freitas won the flyweight belt over Luciano Benício, Luan Danger RNC’d Jafel Filho for the roosterweight belt, and Jonatha Silva defeated Yan Teixeira for the straw-weight belt. The main event saw Marlon Sandro take down and submit Diego Arturo via kata-gatame in round one.

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