Brazilian Prospect ‘Massaranduba’ Continues Rise at Jungle Fight 20

By Marcelo Alonso May 25, 2010
After an impressive submission of former Pride fighter Luiz “Buscapé” Firmino in February, Francisco "Massaranduba" Drinaldo delivered again Saturday at Jungle Fight 20 with a win over Flavio Alvaro.

This time Massaranduba, who represents Constriction Team, showed that he is also a dangerous striker. He was very aggressive on the feet, scoring a knockdown in the first round. In the second, Alvaro answered by knocking him down, but then Massaranduba recovered, floored Alvaro again and forced a stoppage on the ground after follow-up punches from the guard.

A training partner of Paulo Thiago and Rani Yahya, Massaranduba is a Brazilian kickboxing champion who has 12 wins in 13 MMA fights. He grew up extremely poor in Piaui, a state in northeastern Brazil.

“I’ve worked since I was 8 years old,” he said. “I’ve done everything you can imagine in life, except rob. So when I fight, I put my life in the ring.”

Paulo Nikolai, the former muay Thai trainer of Brazilian Top Team, has called Massaranduba the next Brazilian phenom at 155 pounds.

“I’ve trained some of the toughest guys in the world at BTT,” Nikolai said. “I know how to recognize a champion. This guy is complete. He defeated one of the toughest guys on the ground and also in the standup game. I bet he will be in the UFC soon.”

For now, Massaranduba is considered a favorite to win a Jungle Fight belt. His toughest obstacle might not come in the ring.

“My biggest problem is lack of sponsorship,” he said. “Sometimes I can’t train because I don’t have money to catch a bus and go to the academy.”

Freitas Beats UFC Veteran Crocotá

Known for exciting fights and launching new talent on the Brazilian MMA scene, Jungle Fight 20 wasn’t a typical event from Wallid Ismael’s promotion. It featured many international fighters -- from Chile, Argentina and Spain -- but lacked the technical level of previous shows. However, the card was shown for the first time live in the U.S. on ESPN Deportes.

While Massaranduba was victorious in lightweight tournament action, Gil de Freitas knocked off Edilberto "Crocotá" de Oliveira in a welterweight tournament bout. The fight was close, but Freitas was more aggressive all three rounds and deserved the win.

Crocotá, a UFC veteran and training partner of Junior dos Santos, cried after the loss, which snapped a two-fight win streak. With four straight wins, Freitas is now the welterweight tournament favorite.

Jungle Fight 20 Full Results
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