RIO DE JANEIRO – Once again the worlds’ only true Vale Tudo tournament gave mixed martial arts fans a reason to come back for more. With a packed house cheering them on, eight Brazilian bare-knuckle gladiators kicked, punched and choked each other for a shot at the RioHeroes 14 Super Lightweight Championship.
In the first qualifier, Leiarte Azevedo toyed with Fabio Oliveira before dispatching Fabio with a right hook that sent him head first into the canvas. Crowd favorite, Ivanildo “Cafu” Santos, made quick work of Ricardo Caetano by finishing him in a choke hold just minutes into the second qualifying match.
In the third bout of the evening, newcomer D’Angelo Viera used a series of devastating right hand punches and elbows to knock Isaac Tavares out of the tournament. Newcomer Marcelo Franca proved no match for reigning Super Lightweight Champ William Viana, who showed he was on the top of his game in the fourth qualifier of the evening.
The first semifinal featured the third battle in RioHeroes history between rivals Leiarte Azevedo and Ivanildo “Cafu” Santos. For more than eight minutes the two warriors exchanged hard blows, but in the end Cafu slowly overpowered Azevedo with a series of takedowns and triangle holds as well as a well-placed knee to Leiarte’s face to finish him off.
In the second semi-final, William Viana barely broke a sweat as he forced D’Angelo Viera to tap out in less than five seconds by a perfectly executed arm bar. Viana’s easy victory set up an electrifying yet surprisingly quick final with Cafu. As Viana and Cafu took their battle to the ground, Cafu passed out from what appeared to be extreme exhaustion accompanied by some very hard blows.
As a result, Viana was crowned the Super Lightweight Champ for the second time, making him only the third fighter to accomplish that feat in RioHeroes history. Afterward, Viana basked in his glory.
“It took a lot of effort and dedication,” Viana said. “It is not easy to come in here and win three fights in a row, especially against these RioHeroes fighters.”