Super heavyweight Wagner da Conceicao Martins, better known as Wagner “Zuluzinho,” will return to action for the first time in nearly eight years when he faces “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3” competitor Job Kleber Melo at an Imortal FC event on June 2.
The 39-year-old Zuluzinho has not competed since suffering a first-round knockout loss to Geronimo dos Santos on Nov. 30, 2010., the Brazilian is hoping that he will get a chance to compete in Japan again, where he once fought the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Eric Esch under the Pride Fighting Championships banner.
"My motivation is, first of all, the Pride fans, who did not miss an edition of the event,” he told Sherdog.com. “Besides, since Imortal has a great reach, maybe I will be invited to fight in Japan. If it happens, I won’t think twice.”
Listed at 390 pounds on his Sherdog.com Fight Finder profile, Zuluzinho would not speculate on his current weight.
"I have not yet weighed myself,” he said. “I cannot say."
Melo, a member of the Brazilian military police, has lost his last five bouts. The Rio de Janeiro native normally competes at light heavyweight and is not completely sure how to approach a matchup with a much larger opponent.
"He is very big, very heavy, but I'll go in to win,” Melo said. “I still do not know what strategy I'm going to use; I leave it to my coaches. But since I'm lighter, I think my speed will make a difference in my advantage."
According to Imortal FC President Stefano Sartori, the booking is a tribute to Zuluzinho’s father, Casemiro Nascimento Martins -- “Rei Zulu” – who was a prominent figure on the Vale Tudo scene. The 9th edition of Imortal FC will take place in São Luís do Maranhão, Brazil.
"Anyone knows the history of our sport recognizes the historical figure of King Zulu and the importance of the work he did for the sport in the 70s and 80s,” Sartori said. “There is nothing more fair than inviting a representative of the family to be part of this special Imortal FC card.
“Although he is the host, Zuluzinho will not have an easy night because [Melo] is a tough guy. He had a good run on ‘TUF,’ and he is accustomed to great challenges, since he is an honest and fearless policeman. And to climb the cage with Zuluzinho, you have to have a lot of courage. It will be a historical edition."