In the most bizarre matchmaking in recent history, Brazil will possibly watch the first professional MMA fight between man and woman in its history.
Shooto Brazil announced on Tuesday that its 45th edition, set to take place on Dec. 20 in Rio de Janeiro, will feature a three-round bantamweight fight between Emerson Falcao (0-1) and Juliana Velasquez (0-0).
Nova Uniao’s Falcao made his MMA debut last April, suffering a first-round submission loss to Benny Blackat at Upper Sport Combat 2. Velasquez, one inch shorter, trains at Team Nogueira.
Falcao posted on his Facebook page on Monday night that he’s injured and wouldn’t be able to fight until next year, and several sources close to the fighter confirmed the information to MMAFighting.com. However, Shooto president Andre Pederneiras told MMAFighting.com that Falcao will be able to compete on Friday night.
"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.
"I’m used to training with man every day. I’m a professional judoka and I know the adrenaline of the competition, I know how to handle this."
Shooto Brazil 45 will be headlined by a flyweight title fight which is a rematch between Alexandre Pantoja and Lincoln de Sa. Pantoja and de Sa fought for the first time at Shooto Brazil 32 on July 2012, and de Sa won the bout in a controversial decision. Both fighters are 2-0 since the decision.
Update: Osiris Maia, member of the Brazilian Mixed Martial Arts Confederation, the entity responsible for regulating the Shooto Brazil events, is not sure if they will allow the male vs. female fight to happen.
"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.
"We haven’t received the official card yet from the promotion, we’ll get that (on Thursday) at the weigh-ins," he continued. "I wasn’t informed about that yet. They announced it to the media only, but if you ask me if we’re allowing it to happen, I don’t think so. I think it’s a disparity. We’ll see what’s going on tomorrow at the weigh-ins."