Danny Castillo is back in action.
Fresh off a vicious second-round knockout over Charlie Brenneman at UFC 172, Castillo has agreed to replace injured Igor Gracie in a submission-only no-gi match with fellow MMA fighter Haider Rasheed at Copa Podio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 10.
"Igor Gracie has suffered a knee injury last week," Copa Podio president Jeferson Mayca told MMAFighting.com. ""Castillo’s coach Fabio ‘Pateta’ Prado offered me some of his fighters before I signed Igor Gracie. I called him on Saturday and he was in the UFC. After the fight, Castillo accepted the challenge right away and the UFC allowed him to compete here."
UFC veteran Alan Belcher competed at the last edition of Copa Podio, but came out of the heavyweight tournament with no victories in four matches. "Last Call" won’t enter a tournament, but the only way he will get out with the victory is with a submission.
"It’s a no-gi challenge with no time limit that we created exclusively for MMA fighters," Mayca said. "MMA fighters always complained that the preparation with the gi was a problem since they are always training for MMA fights, so now it’s a no-gi challenge."
Castillo, a brown belt in jiu-jitsu who competes at the 155-pound division in the UFC, faces Rasheed in a 176-pound limit match. Castillo’s jiu-jitsu coach, "Pateta" is confident that his protégé will submit the BJJ black belt.
"Castillo is going there to finish him, and finish him fast," Prado said. "He’s going to put the pressure the whole time. He’s going to win this, no doubt about it."
Copa Podio will also feature a lightweight tournament on May 10. In the yellow group, Gilbert Durinho, Marcio Andre, Gianni Grippo, Victor Silverio and Fernando Vieira battle each other. The green group has Leandro Lo, Gregor Gracie, Luca Anacoreta, Simone Franceschini and Hamzeh Rasheed. The event also features the following superfights: Ottaviano "La Maquina" vs. Abraham Marte, Alexandre Vieira vs. Tanner Rice and Lucas Hulk vs. Patrick Gaudio.