Flyweight Formiga Tops Inaugural Fort MMA Card on Dec. 15

By Chris Nelson Oct 26, 2011
Brazil’s foremost flyweight, Jussier “Formiga” da Silva, will headline the December debut of Fort MMA Championships, an upstart promotion from the fighter’s hometown of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte.

The tenacious grappler has agreed to face unbeaten Rodrigo “Indio” Santos in the show’s 125-pound main event, da Silva’s manager and Fort MMA promoter Matheus Aquino told on Wednesday.

With a slate full of talent from Brazil’s Northeast, Fort MMA’s first show will take place Dec. 15 at the Brazilian Industrial Social Services Gymnasium in Natal. Broadcast plans have yet to be finalized, but Aquino stated that his promotion’s inaugural card will stream live online to every part of the world, except Natal and nearby cities.

The stated objective of Fort MMA is to provide a platform for Northeast Brazilian prospects seeking to fight in the world’s premier organizations. To facilitate this transition, the promotion will hold its fights in a cage, under the Unified Rules of MMA from North America’s Association of Boxing Commissions. Unlike most Brazilian promotions, Fort MMA will require all fighters to present proof of blood testing and doctor authorizations in order to compete.

Speaking with, Aquino explained that having da Silva in the headlining slot simply made sense for himself and his fighter, who has struggled to find high-profile bouts in the still-blossoming division.

“Anywhere you look, Jussier is either the No. 2 or 3 fighter in the weight class, but unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily mean he gets to live well,” said Aquino. “It’s different being a flyweight, and a poor one who has to support his mother, child and sister. The distance from Brazil to the U.S. makes it hard for Tachi Palace Fights to have him on all of their cards, and the time off hurts him financially and technically. After I decided to create Fort MMA and was looking for a main event, he stepped up and asked for a big challenge.”

World-ranked da Silva seeks to reestablish dominance in the weight class he once sat atop. The Nova Uniao Kimura representative recently rebounded from his first career loss with a sound August decision over Japanese veteran Mamoru Yamaguchi, and will defend his Shooto South America 123-pound belt this Saturday in a rematch with Michael William Costa.

While Santos lacks the name recognition of da Silva’s most recent opponents, Aquino cautioned that the Belem, Para, native is no pushover. Boasting an unofficial record of 9-0 with four knockouts and four submissions, Santos holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a brown belt in muay Thai and the title belts of two Northern promotions.

“Jussier wants to stay active and keep improving. There’s only one way he will regain No. 1 status and have a better life for himself and his family,” said Aquino. “So enters Rodrigo, a tough, up-and-coming guy, unknown to the public, but full of talent. Now, he will have the chance of his life. It’s a must-see fight and hopefully it will bring the best from these two.

“That’s the beauty of what Fort MMA is meant to be: a place where prospects have the opportunity to shine for the world, develop and/or prove themselves. The card is packed with talent and hopefully, after Dec. 15, many more eyes will be set on the fighters from the Northeast of Brazil.”

Other fights confirmed for the nine-bout card include a lightweight rematch pitting Amazon Fight champion Guilherme Rodrigues against Anderson “Leao” Salustiano, and a 161-pound catchweight tilt between Nova Uniao Kimura’s Ciro Rodrigues and Anderson “Fala Mansa” Diniz.


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