Landi-Jons, more commonly known as “Pele,” was born in Cuba but moved to Brazil at age 7. It was there that he developed a reputation on the Vale Tudo scene as a fearsome muay Thai specialist, winning the Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting 5 tournament with a trio of first-round finishes in 1996. The Chute Boxe Academy stalwart later developed a rivalry with Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner Jorge Patino, and, by beating “Macaco” in back-to-back bouts, Landi-Jons was integral in helping to make a name for his camp. Stateside, “Pele” also scored memorable victories over Pat Miletich and Matt Hughes, the latter of which came when the Brazilian landed a devastating knee as Hughes shot for a takedown. The later portion of Pele’s career was marred by a less-than-amicable split with Chute Boxe due to a financial dispute; the two parties later reconciled. An early training partner of Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva, Landi-Jons is still known as one of the first stars of the legendary Brazilian camp.
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