Today, we’re exploring the Jungle Fight organization founded in Amazonas, Northern Brazil. The promotion began holding events in 2003 and have held 84 fight cards in their 13 years of existence. Every event – other than Jungle Fight 7: Europe in Slovenia – were held in some part of Brazil.

At the controls is PRIDE FC, UFC and IVC veteran Wallid “Paraiba” Ismael (9-3 in MMA). Wallid is one of the most passionate yet ferocious athletes you could ever come across. Every fight was personal to him and every trip to the cage or ring was a life or death situation. We’re talking Enson Inoue-type dedication to his craft. Heck, Ismael was possibly even more intense than Enson in his fighting days. Something tells me Key and Peele saw footage of Wallid preparing to fight back in the day before they filmed the “UFC trash talk skit” in 2012. This is the guy who inspired the character of “Paulo Odbelis” of the UWL.

Jungle Fight events are available in the U.S. on ESPN 3 and ESPN Deportes and in Brazil on TV Band and Sports Band. Several events are available on DVD or for view over the internet.

Jungle Fight’s TOP 5 Veteran Performers (in alphabetical order)
This section includes athletes that have competed in the promotion at least four times and are not current title holders. Additional noteworthy fighting experience has also been provided.

Ildemar Alcantara – 21-8 in MMA overall, (9-1 Jungle Fight, former Welterweight Champion Champion), (4-3 UFC)

Wins over Luis Santos (triangle choke), Ediberto de Oliveria (KO-punches), Wander Prado (kneebar), Leandro Silva (dec) and Albert Tumenov (dec)

Losses to Luis Santos (dec), Fabio Maldonato (dec), Geronimo dos Santos (TKO-punches), Marcelo Guimares (dec), Igor Araujo (dec), Kenny Robertson (dec) and Kevin Casey (dec)

Francisco Trinaldo – 18-4 in MMA overall, (5-1 Jungle Fight, former Lightweight Champion Champion), (8-3 UFC)

Wins over Luis Firmino (kneebar), Adriano Martins (dec), Delson Heleno (TKO-punches), C.J. Keith (arm triangle choke), Mike Rio (arm triangle choke), Jesse Ronson (dec), Leandro Silva (dec), Akbarh Arreola (dec), Norman Parke (dec) and Chad Laprise (TKO-punches)

Losses to Iuri Alcantara (armbar), Gleison Tibau (dec), Piotr Hallmann (kimura arm lock) and Michael Chiesa (dec)

Adriano Martins – 28-7 in MMA overall, (5-2 Jungle Fight, former Lightweight Champion Champion), (4-1 UFC)

Wins over Luciano Azevedo (dec), Luis Santos (dec), Neilson Gomes (TKO-punches), Jorge Gurgel (dec), Daron Cruickshank (armbar), Juan Manuel Puig (KO-punch), Rustan Khabilov (dec) and Islam Makhachev (KO-punch)

Losses to Boris Jonstomp (dec), Gleison Tibau (dec), Ronys Torres (twice – TKO-doc stop/dec), Keita Nakamura (dec), Francisco Trinaldo (dec) and Donald Cerrone (KO-kick)

Marcelo Guimaraes – 9-1-1 in MMA overall, (6-0 Jungle Fight, former Middleweight Champion Champion), (2-1 UFC)

Wins over Ildemar Alcantara (dec), Paulo Rodrigues (dec), Dan Stiittgen (dec) and Andy Enz (dec)

Losses to Lim Hyun-Gyu (KO-knee/punch)

John Lineker – 26-7 in MMA overall, (4-0 Jungle Fight, former Bantamweight Champion Champion), (7-2 UFC)

Wins over Wagner Campos (TKO-punches), Francisco Nazareno (TKO-punches), Iliarde Santos (dec), Yasuhiro Urushitani (dec), Azamat Gashimov (TKO-punches), Jose Maria Tome (TKO-punches), Phil Harris (TKO-punches), Alptekin Ozkilic (TKO-punches), Ian McCall (dec), and Francisco Rivera (guillotine choke)

Losses to Felipe Arantes (armbar), Rafael Silva (dec), Louis Gaudinot (guillotine choke) and Ali Bagautinov (dec)

HONORABLE MENTIONS: This has been the most difficult show to evaluate yet. There’s just so much talent in this promotion. The list of fighters below is just a sample of the incredible athletes that have fought in Jungle Fight. Any of the fighters below could’ve easily made the Top 5 Performers list.

Iuri Alcantara -33-6-1 overall in MMA and 4-0 in Jungle Fight. The former Jungle Fight Lightweight Champion is 7-3-1 in UFC

Douglas “El Loco” Bertazini – 10-6 overall in MMA and 7-4 in Jungle Fight

Renato “Moicano” Carneiro – 9-0-1 overall in MMA and 9-0 in Jungle Fight Carneiro is the former Jungle Fight Interim Featherweight Champion

Neilson Gomes – 14-2 overall in MMA and 6-1 in Jungle Fight

Tiago dos Santos – 20-5 overall in MMA, 2-1 in UFC and 7-0 in Jungle Fight

Erick Silva – 18-6-1 overall in MMA and 7-0-1 in Jungle Fight. The former Jungle Fight Middleweight Champion is 6-5 in UFC

Kleber Raimundo “Orgulho” Silva – 12-6 overall in MMA and 5-1 in Jungle Fight. He is the former Jungle Fight Heavyweight Champion

Edmilson “Kevin” Souza – 16-4 overall in MMA and 4-0 in Jungle Fight. The former Jungle Fight Featherweight Champion is 3-1 in UFC

NOTE: Plenty of other high profile fighters competed under the Jungle Fight banner at one time or another including Fabricio Wedum, Jose Aldo, Renan “Barao” do Nascimento Mota Pegado, Ronaldo Souza, Lyoto Machida, Paulo Thiago, Renato Sobral, Rani Yahya, Gabriel Gonzaga, Luiz Azeredo, Luciano Azevedo, Thales Leites, Marcos Galvao, Charles Oliveira, Jose “Pele” Landi-jons, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Jorge Patino, Johil de Oliveira, Carlos Barreto, Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira, Assuerio Silva, Ricardo Morais, Alessio Sakara, Fabiano Scherner, Rony Torres, Geronimo do Santos, Danillo Villefort, Fredson “Paixao” Melo, Johnny Eduardo, Ediberto “Crocota” de Oliveira, Edmilson Souza, Rafael Miranda, Fabiano Fernandes, Edson Franca, Wendell Oliveira, Rodrigo Damm, Carinna Damm, Vanessa Porto, Ediane Gomes, Alexander Schlemenko, Vladimir Matyushenko, Murakami Kazunari, Travis Wiuff, Tony DeSouza, Bobby Hoffman and Stephan Bonnar

Jungle Fight CHAMPIONS
All of the current divisional champions are listed. Some of these guys may be headed to a promotion near you in the future.

Heavyweight Champion
William “Gigante” Baldutti
– 6-3 in MMA overall, (4-0 Jungle Fight)
Baldutti trains out of X-Gym with UFC veterans Erick Silva and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. He captured the Jungle Fight Heavyweight Championship at Jungle Fight 60 and has only gone the distance once in his 7 year career.

Cruiserweight Champion
Bruno Cappelozza
– 7-4 in MMA overall, (4-2 Jungle Fight)
Cappelozza prepared for his RIZIN FF Heavyweight Tournament bout with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. He earned his Jungle Fight Cruiserweight Championship as well as his place in the tournament by defeating Francisco Sandro da Silva Bezerra with punches at Jungle Fight 82 last October.

Light Heavyweight Champion
Dirlei “Mao De Pedra” Broenstrup
– 13-3 in MMA overall, (2-1 Jungle Fight)
“Stone Hand” Broenstrup earned his Jungle Fight Light Heavyweight Championship by defeating Martin Ottaviano by decision at Jungle Fight 74 in 2014. It appears Broenstrup and Cappelozza will fight each other to establish an undisputed light heavyweight champion at Jungle Fight 82.

Middleweight Champion
Andre Lobato
– 24-6 in MMA overall, (3-1 Jungle Fight)
Lobato was born in Bethlehem and trains with the Marajo Brothers as part of the Lobato Team. He won the title by submitting previously unbeaten Alexandre Hoffman by heel hook in just 40 seconds at Jungle Fight 80.

Welterweight Champion
Handesson Ferreira
– 7-0 in MMA overall, (1-0 Jungle Fight)
Ferreira won the Jungle Fight Welterweight Championship by knocking out Paulo Surian in less than 2 minutes at Jungle Fight 78 last June.

Lightweight Champion
Erick Barbosa
– 17-7 in MMA overall, (2-1 Jungle Fight)
Barbosa captured the Jungle Fight Welterweight Championship by stopping a man he had faced years earlier. Ciro Rodrigues battled Barbosa to a decision at Iron Fight Combat 2 in 2012. This time Barbosa was able stop Rodrigues with strikes in the 3rd Rd at Jungle Fight 82.

Featherweight Champion
Otto Rodrigues
– 10-1 in MMA overall, (3-0 Jungle Fight)
Rodrigues trains out of X-Gym and Natural Cabo Frio in Rio. He fought off a late 3rd Rd triangle choke to retain his belt and beat the previously unbeaten Deroci Barbosa by unanimous decision at Jungle Fight 83.

Bantamweight Champion
Maike Linhares
– 9-1 in MMA overall, (2-0 Jungle Fight)
Linhares won the Jungle Fight Bantamweight Championship at Jungle Fight 81 by submitting Rodrigo Praia – a fighter who stopped every opponent he’d ever beaten – with a brabo choke in the 2nd Rd.

Flyweight Champion
Bruno Menezes
– 16-5 in MMA overall, (3-1 Jungle Fight)
Menezes captured the Jungle Fight Flyweight Championship at Jungle Fight 77 where he defeated Nildo Nascimento by decision.

Women’s Bantamweight Champion
Amanda Lemos
– 5-0 in MMA overall, (2-0 Jungle Fight)
“Amandinha” won the Jungle Fight Bantamweight Championship at Jungle Fight 82 last October. She will make her first title defense facing Mayra Canterbury at Jungle Fight 85 on 1/23/16

Women’s Strawweight Champion
Polyana Vianna
– 7-1 in MMA overall, (2-0 Jungle Fight)
“Poly” is so tough, she’s competed against men who outweigh her in jiu-jitsu tournaments due to a lack of female competitors. Her only loss in MMA is by decision. Vianna undefeated in Jungle Fight and she captured the Jungle Fight Strawweight Championship by knocking out previously undefeated Amanda Ribas in less than 3 minutes.

5 Jungle Fight FIGHTS YOU SHOULD SEE

Jungle Fight 1: Lyoto Machida vs. Stephan Bonnar
Jungle Fight 1 is a great event to watch to get your first taste of the promotion. It was held at the Ariau Amazon Towers Convention Center and the ring is centered under a canopy of palm trees. Fighters walk through tree-lined paths to get to the ring, making it seem like you’re fighting in the middle of the Amazon jungle. This was Machida’s second fight. Bonnar was on a roll at 4-0, having stopped 3 of his opponents in under 3 minutes. Living in Chicago, I attended 3 of those 4 fights in 2001 and 2002. Bonnar was respected in Brazil. Even though he was an American, he was a Carlson Gracie Sr. product and earned his purple belt under Master Gracie before he passed away. I had the pleasure of interviewing Master Gracie around that time and I still hold on to the audio tape of the interview.

As for the fight, Bonnar had a hard time hitting Machida. Even then his footwork and timing were excellent. The first hard kick Bonnar landed was met with a punch to the face that opened a cut under his left eye. Moments later a left-right combo busted up Bonnar’s nose too but Stephan showed the same disregard for his physical state as he did in the TUF Finale. When Bonnar finally gets the clinch he’d been working for, his busted up nose instantly turns Machida’s shoulder red and the ref steps in to get it checked. From the video it looks like the corner – a Jungle Fight medical staffer – tells Bonnar to blow his nose. That’s an awful idea. You can hear someone say “it’s broken” but they fight on. Bonnar eventually lands a straight right and a left hook that rocks Machida’s head back. He lands a knee to Machida’s chest and a second knee to his face but it’s too late. Another check of Bonnar’s bloody face and we see there’s a new, larger cut under Bonnar’s right eye. It’s bad and they stop the fight. Bonnar was pissed but he pushed the medical staff out of the way to go hug Machida. This one reminded me of Wanderlei Silva/Artur Mariano from IVC 2. Silva was winning that bout but his skin gave up. Even the old Brazilian superglue trick wouldn’t have helped Silva in that one.

Jungle Fight 4: Jose “Pele” Landi-jons vs. Fabricio Monteiro
I am a firm believer that the UFC – and American fight fans in general – really missed out when Jose “Pele” Landi-jons was never signed to fight in the octagon. Other than brief stints in PRIDE FC and WEF you had to follow Brazilian Vale Tudo promotions to see “Pele” in action and not everyone was plugged into that world. I wouldn’t consider this one of his best performances but it was classic “Pele”. He had already won 1 four-man and 2 eight-man Vale Tudo (means “anything goes”) tournaments and fought twice in PRIDE FC before this bout. Monteiro was 10-0 going in with the majority of his wins by TKO or KO. “Pele” controlled the stand-up early with leg kicks. Monteiro took some wicked shots and continuously changed stances as the fight went on. He really brought it at one point, landing 5 unanswered left hands to the face of “Pele” but he never looked to have him fighter in trouble. The opening round ended with a submission stalemate and “Pele” heated up in the second. Monteiro clinched and brought “Pele” to the mat, even mounting him, but he could never keep him down. Eventually Monteiro began to hold on just to avoid being hit. “Pele” grew more confident and jumped in and out of Monteiro’s guard striking him at will. At one point a hard combination to Monteiro’s face resulted in his head sliding out from under the ropes. Back on the feet, a final hard left to the face of Monteiro made him wave the fight off as he dropped to his knees.

Jungle Fight 5: Luciano Azevedo vs. Jose Aldo
This wasn’t exactly the most exciting fight but it was definitely historical. Prior to the McGregor fight last month, this was Aldo’s only loss. There was a reoccurring pattern throughout this fight; Aldo would land a hard strike, Azevedo would counter with strikes to set up his takedown, Aldo would stuff the takedown and Azevedo would flop to his back. I think it happened exactly that way 6 or 7 times.
Truth-be-told, you really only need to see the 2nd Rd in this one. Aldo landed his best punch to the head in the fight and Azevedo finally scored a takedown. They fought from Aldo’s guard and Azevedo moved to side control. When Azevedo jumped to mount, Aldo attempted to push him back but Azevedo seized Aldo’s back. He would eventually secure a body triangle and sink a rear choke forcing Aldo to tap.

Jungle Fight 10: Ronys Torres vs. Luiz Azeredo
Timing is everything and unfortunately these two were headed in different directions. This bout took place 2 years after Azeredo did his stint in PRIDE Bushido (he went 2-3). He was still with Chute Boxe but he sported a battle-weary 12-8 record at that time. Torres had Andre Pederneiras in his corner, was 12-1 and was headed to the UFC after one more trip in the Jungle Fight cage. The UFC pulled the plug on Torres after just 2 fights (0-2). Now he’s a star with SHOOTO Brazil where he’s 10-0 in the promotion and 30-5 overall.
Azeredo got tagged at the bell and spent the fight trying to get back to his feet against a superior wrestler. Late in the 1st Rd Torres had Azeredo tied up with his head pointed toward the mat and he delivered a knee to the face. Azeredo made it back to his feet but Torres scored another takedown. Torres worked his way to side control and applied a Kimura armlock against the cage. He worked his way behind Azeredo’s head to apply additional pressure and kept him from being able to defend the lock. Azevedo tapped in agony.

Jungle Fight 22: Iuri Alcantara vs. Francisco Trinaldo
This bout featured two future Jungle Fight Lightweight Champions pitted against each other. JF 22 featured a 4-man tournament to win the title. Most of the stand-up exchanges were dominated by Trinaldo. He would continue to go to the mat and strike his way out of trouble Fedor-style. The strategy worked most of the time as Alcantara was content on his back, trying to control Trinaldo’s posture and work for submissions. Unfortunately for him, Trinaldo got more comfortable fighting from guard and really loaded up on his punches. Alcantara was getting tattooed until the round ended and he found himself back in that same position early in the second period. He would take more abuse but worked smarter on the mat. Trinaldo would stand in Alcantara’s guard and load up punches to his head, even knocking the mouthpiece out of his mouth. During one of Trinaldo’s stand-ups Alcantara controlled his right arm. He was able to swing his hips under and spin for the arm bar. Francisco did a headstand as he was forced to the mat and tapped. Trinaldo had the fight won if he could have just stay out of trouble but Alcantara’s commitment to the submission won him the fight.
NOTE: these are just 5 fights I would recommend viewing. A hardcore fan of the promotion may have a totally different list. Do you have a Jungle Fight fight you think everyone should see? Let me know at jhirthmma@yahoo.com and I’ll put together another Top 5 Jungle Fight Fights voted on by the readers.

NEXT UP: Japan’s Vale Tudo Japan promotion

About The Author

James Hirth
Staff Writer

James Hirth has been covering combat sports in a variety of media formats (magazine, internet and radio) since the late 1990’s. He was first exposed to Mixed Martial Arts (then called No Holds Barred) when a training partner brought in a grainy VHS tape of an event called the Japan Open Vale Tudo ’94. James recalls “I’m the first person I‘m aware of who was familiar with Rickson Gracie’s fights before Royce. I saw a tape of UFC 1 a few weeks later and I was hooked”. Having done everything from in-house play-by-play and judging at live fights, ringside camera work and even cornering a fighter - in addition to previews and interviews - James has witnessed the growth of the sport. James has studied a variety of martial arts for more than 30 years. Growing up in Chicago and the youngest of 8 children, James’ oldest brother would take him Downtown to the theaters of The Loop on Saturday mornings in the late 1970’s to see martial arts films. Like many youth of that day, seeing Bruce Lee on the big screen changed his life. His brother would also introduce him to the arts of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido where he spent 10 years training and teaching at the same academy. After receiving his Bachelors of Science in Business Operations he spent 5 years in the field of Marketing Research in The Loop. The 9-11 tragedy resulted in significant layoffs in the industry and he would return to teaching martial arts, this time for a non-for-profit organization. He spent more than a decade teaching and developing a variety of martial arts programming in multiple branches of the organization. He not only taught all ages and in more than a dozen Chicago Public Schools, but had the opportunity to train Cook County Juvenile Probation Officers and the children of local FBI agents. Now James is thrilled to bring his years of experience to The MMA Corner and Press Box Insider.