Murilo Bustamante will return on July 20. | Photo: Chris Dela Cruz/Sherdog.com
Brazilian MMA icon and former UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante will fight again.
Bustamante, 44, this week told Sherdog.com that he will return to the ring to headline a July 20 card from Rio de Janeiro-based promotion Clube da Luta (Fight Club) at Rio’s Via Show nightclub. The bout will be only Bustamante’s second since 2007, and his first since being stopped by Jesse Taylor last July in Australia.
Standing opposite the Brazilian Top Team leader will be Yuya Shirai, a Dream veteran and current welterweight champion of Japanese promotion Deep. The 170-pound bout will be one of two super-fights on the night, with the second pitting Delson “Pe de Chumbo” Heleno against Luis “Besouro” Dutra Jr. at lightweight.
Also slated for the July 20 card are two four-man tournaments with a bevy of recognizable names. The 154-pound bracket includes former UFC lightweight Ronys Torres, resurgent veteran Carlo Prater, Diego Braga and Igor “Chatubinha” Fernandes, while the 170-pound field hosts Octagon vet Edilberto “Crocota” de Oliveira, Daniel Acacio, Hernani Perpetuo and prospect “Zezao Trator,” Jose Gomes de Ribamar.
Bustamante’s return to action was just one in a slew of notable matches made by Brazilian promoters in June. Top Brazilian 205-pounder Glover Teixeira and former UFC fighter Antonio “Samuray” Mendes will vie for the vacant Shooto South America heavyweight strap Aug. 5 in the national capital of Brasilia. Less than three weeks later, Teixeira will compete again at Shooto’s private “Fight for BOPE” show in Rio, likely against Houston Alexander or Marvin Eastman.
Meanwhile, promoter Amaury Bitetti confirmed details for Bitetti Combat 9, which takes place June 18 at Rio’s Botafogo Rowing Club and includes an eight-man, one-night “middleweight combat cup.” The winner of the tournament will earn a spot on Bitetti Combat 10, tentatively set for December. Also featured on the BC 9 bill is a lightweight showdown between Pride vet Milton Vieira and hard-hitting prospect Bruno “Cro Cop” Lobato.
Not to be left out of the summer fun, Watch Out Combat Show head Otavio Duarte announced the 14th iteration of his show for July 23 at Flamengo Rowing Club in Rio. In addition to a featherweight title fight between Fabiano “Bob Esponja” Lucas and Mauricio “Faccao” Santos, the card will include the likes of Shooto 167-pound world champ Luis “Beicao” Ramos, one-time UFC’er Alexandre “Baixinho” Barros, and touted prospect Thiago Michel Pereira Silva.