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UFC pays tribute to Helio Gracie vs. Masahiko Kimura at Maracana stadium

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and the other stars of UFC 179 stepped on the Maracana field for the workouts this Thursday, and it was a historical moment for the sport. On this day 63 years ago, one of the biggest fights in the history of the sport took place at the soccer stadium, when Masahiko Kimura tapped Helio Gracie with a submission that was later named after him.

With MMA returning to Maracanazinho at its finest with UFC 179, the promotion boosts the pre-fight events in Rio de Janeiro. The UFC’s office in Brazil came up with the idea to promote a quiz show about MMA called "Você Sabia?" (which means "Did you know?" in Portuguese).

"We created the ‘Você Sabia?’ to inform and entertain the MMA fans in UFC events in Brazil, remembering important moments and people in the history of the UFC," Grace Tourinho told "Since this UFC card is at Maracanazinho, a temple of MMA in Brazil, we had the idea to do an historical edition remembering important chapters of the early days of vale tudo in the 1950s, 1980s and 1990s, the PRIDE era, and the first UFC shows."

Before the UFC 179 workouts, Robson Gracie and Joao Alberto Barreto, two of the great names of jiu-jitsu and vale tudo, received a pair of UFC gloves signed by UFC champion Jose Aldo.

"This was Carlos Gracie’s dream," Robson Gracie said. "One of the things he always said was that they taught jiu-jitsu to turn a p---y into a warrior, turn a Brazilian into a champion. There’s no fight anywhere in the world where a Brazilian is not involved."

The UFC will also promote an edition of "Você Sabia?" on Saturday night, hours before the first preliminary bout at Maracanazinho, and veteran journalist Marcelo Alonso will join UFC reporter Paula Sack.

"’Você Sabia?’ was created by the UFC office in Brazil, and I heard that Dana White loved the idea," Alonso said. "They did that twice already in previous UFC events, and Grace Tourinho came up with the idea to do a special edition based on the photos of my book."

"We will talk about 17 photos, from Helio vs. Kimura to Carlson Gracie to Murilo Bustamante to Ruas vs. Pinduka, always connecting the history to Maracanazinho and the UFC," he continued. "Maracanazinho is the Colosseum of Brazilian MMA. A lot of important, historical fights happened here."

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