Taura MMA to Return With Dozens of Former UFC Fighters

By: Marcelo Alonso
Oct 22, 2020

Taura MMA has a definite plan going forward to become the biggest promotion in Brazil as well as one that can rival top organizations stateside.

After being severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like Brazilian MMA events are restarting again. Thunder Fight, Respect MMA, Arena Global and Future Fighting Championships all put on recent shows in Brazil, with several championship affairs spread among their organizations. Taura MMA will promote its 10th edition on Friday, while Shooto Brazil will promote its 102nd edition on Sunday. Both events will take place in Rio de Janeiro in the Upper Arena, broadcasting live on the Combate channel.

While Shooto 102 will have a bantamweight title dispute between Wellington Nenem and Luan Lacerda, Taura 10 will put two belts on the line. For the flyweight title, Felipe Gheno will face Bruno Rodrigues Mesquita, while Ary Farias will face American Johnny Campbell for the interim 135-pound strap.

Initially booked with 12 fights, Taura 10 lost three due to positive COVID-19 tests. Rousimar Palhares, who was going to fight Antonio Gordillo – who was unable to attend due to a travel lockdown in Argentina – also tested positive. Ex-Bellator MMA fighter Bruna Vargas and current Taura featherweight champ Isaac Moura were also pulled from the card due to positive tests.

The losses on this card didn’t take the motivation of TAURA promoter Djonatan Leao. The head was resolute by not only adding more cards, but also proudly announcing many high-profile signings.

“All those athletes will be brought to our last event of 2020, on Dec. 6 in Rio de Janeiro,” Leao explained to Sherdog about his plans for the next three events this year. “But the event keeps being very interesting. Besides two belt disputes, we have UFC veterans Sergio Moraes and Wendell Oliveira returning to Brazil. Actually, we hired a total of 108 fighters, 50 percent are former UFC fighters. We just opened our main office in Orlando and our plan is to make 15 events in 2021 in four different countries.”

Leao continued, “After Taura 10, we will promote our first international edition in Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimee, Florida, on Oct. 30. And right after that we will make Taura 12 on December 6 also in Rio de Janeiro.”

When asked to point some former UFC fighters who must be the stars of the next editions, Djonatan announced a surprisingly long list of athletes already hired by Taura. Besides Renan Barao, Rousimar Palhares, Antonio Silva and Sergio Moraes, the list included names like: William Macario, Paulo Thiago, Daniel Sarafian, Richardson Moreira, Efrain Escudero, Kalindra Faria, Juliana Lima, Eric Spicely, Marcelo Golm, Bobby Moffett, Elizabeth Phillips, Kyle Bochniak, Joachim Christensen, Gleison Tibau, Godofredo Castro, Vitor Miranda, Glaico Franca, Chris Cisneros, Danny Martinez, Carlos Huachin, Jeremy Kennedy and Daron Cruickshank. According to Leao, many more names will be announced soon.

A local from Rio Grande do Sul, which is also the home of ex-UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, Leao earned both his muay Thai black belt and jiu-jitsu brown belt. Leao started an MMA business after franchising one gym of Nogueira Team Academy in 2016. The partnership with Nogueira brothers culminated into an MMA event named Team Nogueira Circuit in 2017.

Broadcasted live by Combate channel, the organization has launched many new talents in southern Brazil. In 2018, the Nogueira brothers left the partnership, so Leao decided to change the name of the event to Taura – local slang which means someone that is a specialist or expert in any subject. According to Leao, his main goal is to be recognized as one of the biggest promotions in the world, like Bellator, Professional Fighters League and One Championship by the end of 2021.

Taura MMA 10, Oct. 23 Card Lineup:

Felipe Gheno (9-1) vs. Bruno Rodrigues Mesquita (11-3-1) – flyweight title
Ary Farias (9-2) vs. Johnny Campbell (20-12) – interim bantamweight title
Sergio Moraes (14-6-1) vs. Jared Revel (10-2) – middleweight
Wendell de Oliveira Marques (31-14) vs. Rene Pessoa (21-6) – middleweight
Thiago Oliveira (16-5) vs. Andrey Augusto (9-2-1) – lightweight
Nilton Gaviao (16-5) vs. Manoel Moreira dos Santos Jr. (9-3) – bantamweight
Thaiane Souza (6-6) vs. Simone Santos (1-0) – women’s strawweight
Denis Silva (15-4) vs. Kaue Rodrigues (8-3) – lightweight
Pedro Henrique Finger (6-7) vs. Tiago Souza (4-2) – featherweight

Shooto Brazil 102, Oct. 25 Card Lineup

Luan Lacerda vs. Wellington Lopes – bantamweight title
Diego Dias vs. Carlos Silva – welterweight
Guilherme Doin vs. Paulo Henrique Laia – lightweight
Luiz Felipe Quieroz Herculano vs. Antonio da Silva – flyweight
Wallace Lopes vs. Jonatan Feitosa Pinto – featherweight
Thierry Lucas vs. Jorge Nascimento – welterweight
Claudiene Ferreira Alves vs. Michele dos Santos Oliveira – women’s strawweight
Erilene Rayla Nascimento vs. Priscila Ferreira – women’s flyweight
Matheus Felipe vs. Rodrigo Sezinando – middleweight
Vitor Moreira vs. Sirnande Junior – 150-pound catchweight
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