Shooto Brazil plans on hosting the first ever professional man vs. woman MMA fight on Dec. 20 in Rio de Janeiro. The bantamweight fight between Emerson Falcao and Juliana Velasquez was announced Tuesday.
Falcao trains at Nova Uniao alongside UFC champions Renan Barao and Jose Aldo and Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas. While he has only one professional MMA fight under his belt, Falcao receives instruction from Shooto President Andre Pederneiras. Velasquez, on the other hand, is making her professional debut.
“Andre Pederneiras came up with the idea,” Velasquez told MMAFighting.com. “He asked Team Nogueira for a female fighter and my team believes I’m ready, so I accepted the challenge. My expectations are the best. I’m well trained to get there and win.”
Whether this is a legitimate fight or a publicity stunt remains to be seen. Regardless, skepticism surrounds the Shooto Brazil 45 match.
On Monday, Falcao posted on Facebook that an injury prohibits him from competition until next year. Pederneiras immediately refuted the statement.
Shooto is promoting the event through multiple social media outlets, even though the fight has not been sanctioned. According to Osiris Maia, member of the Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Confederation, those responsible for regulating the fight are undecided.
“There’s nothing in the rules that specific prohibits a man to fight a woman, but when you interpret the rules you know that both athletes must be in the same level, so there’s no way a man should be allowed to fight a woman,” Maia told MMAFighting.com
An official decision is expected on Thursday at the weigh-ins.
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