For years, the famed Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil, has produced some of the most violent men in mixed martial arts, from the great Wanderlei Silva to the Rua brothers, Mauricio “Shogun” and Murilo “Ninja.” It seems almost sacrilegious to think a female might carry the school’s torch in 2009.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos burst on the international scene last year with a pair of devastating performances, one of which -- a technical knockout against Shayna Baszler at EliteXC “Unfinished Business” in July -- was televised on CBS. With an eye towards a potential high-stakes bout with the wildly popular and unbeaten Gina Carano, Santos (6-1) will face Golden Glory’s Marloes Coenen at XMMA 7 “Inferno” on Feb. 27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“After that, she’ll look at the situation in the U.S. and continue her career there,” said Chute Boxe founder Rudimar Fedrigo.
A showdown with Carano (7-0) while public anticipation remains high could prove vital to the continued success and survival of women’s MMA. The two of them fought in separate bouts at EliteXC “Heat” in October, as Carano decisioned Kelly Kobald and Santos outpointed Yoko Takahashi. Fedrigo expects them to collide soon.
“I guess it will happen this year,” Fedrigo said. “It’s a fight that everybody wants to see. Both parties are interested in making this fight happen.”
With the recent departures of Andre Amade, Silva and the Rua brothers, Chute Boxe remains a team in transition. The gym also suffered a devastating loss in November, when trainer Osmar Dias was murdered as he left the school. Still, Fedrigo believes the academy is in capable hands with fighters like Fabricio Werdum and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos on the roster and trainers like Nilson Castro, Cristiano Marcello and Alejo Morales in the gym.
“The Chute Boxe is a great school, which has an excellent list of technicians, and it’s structured well,” Fedrigo said. “You can be sure that it’s going to continue solid in the market. I don’t have any doubts about that. We have our own production of good athletes -- forming champions -- and we are going to continue doing that.”
Despite the flight of established stars, Fedrigo promised new Chute Boxe blood would arrive on the professional MMA scene soon. His track record gives him reason for optimism.
“The name of a gym like ours can even go through a crisis, but the one that has a name like we do, can get through this kind of crisis more easily,” said Fedrigo, who opened the academy 31 years ago. “Soon, we are going to present new names. We’re absolutely right that we’re going to make great champions.”