Novaes (10-4) replaces David Castillo for a tilt against Kurt Southern (10-3) at MFC 36 which takes on Friday, February 15. Castillo has been sidelined by a serious neck injury discovered during medicals.
Both the Novaes-Southern matchup and the recently altered middleweight tussle between Clay Davidson (filling in for the injured Luke Harris) and Jason Zentgraf will be featured bouts on the MFC 36: Reality Check main card which will air live on AXS TV Fights from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
“I’ve been training hard and I had a feeling that something good was going to happen for me,” said Novaes. “To get the opportunity to fight in the MFC and on AXS TV and against a good opponent like Kurt, I’m very excited about everything. “This is a great opportunity for me and I’m very happy. I’m going to train even harder now and make something big happen.”
Novaes (Twitter: @jonatasnovaes) enters the MFC having won five of his last six fights and is coming off the first knockout of his career – a 51-second destruction of Drew Fickett back in June. That victory boosted Novaes to 75th in the world rankings compiled by Fight Matrix (http://www.fightmatrix.com/mma-ranks/lightweight/2/). The 31-year-old, who is originally from Conceicao da Barra, Brazil, boasts seven career wins via submission, and seven of his 10 wins have come inside the first round.
A decorated jiu-jitsu practitioner, Novaes, who now lives in Chicago and has agreed a four-fight deal with the MFC, has earned a plethora of titles in various grappling tournaments highlighted by championships at the Pan-American and American Nationals as well as major meets in Brazil, Las Vegas, Toronto, Dallas, and Chicago.
“I’m a jiu-jitsu guy because that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life but in MMA I’m a complete fighter,” noted Novaes. “You saw that in my fight against Fickett when I knocked him out with a head kick. I’ve worked on my stand-up, my wrestling, everything to make me a complete fighter.”
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Southern (Twitter: @kurtsouthern) rides a three-fight win streak into the matchup – a run highlighted by a first-round submission victory over MFC lightweight title hopeful Mukai Maromo.
Southern’s current streak – the third three-fight run of his career – includes wins over Jorge Britto and Brad Cardinal, and he has picked up notable career victories over Martin Grandmont, Evan Sanguin, and Kevin Manderson.
MFC 36: Reality Check Main Card
Graham Spencer (9-1, 1 NC) vs. Mukai Maromo (8-2), MFC lightweight title
Sam Alvey (19-4, 1 NC) vs. Elvis Mutapcic (12-2), MFC middleweight title
Mike Hackert (6-1) vs. Smealinho Rama (5-0), heavyweight
Jason Zentgraf (6-1) vs. Clay Davidson (7-3), middleweight
Jonatas Novaes (10-4) vs. Kurt Southern (10-3), lightweight
Leo Bercier (7-2-1, 1 NC) vs. Jay Silva (8-6), middleweight
Tickets for MFC 36: Reality Check are on sale now and available via www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024.