The Chute Boxe team is still out for revenge while Charles Oliveira pursues Islam Makhachev and the UFC belt, but another lightweight from Sao Paulo has the chance to score a consolation victory this Saturday at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia.
The pay-per-view card is headlined by Makhachev opposite featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski, and Islam’s teammate Zubaira Tukhugov battles Chute Boxe newcomer Elves Brenner in the preliminary portion of the show. Oliveira will be in Brenner’s corner.
So far, as Makhachev alluded prior to his second-round submission win over “do Bronx” in Abu Dhabi, “Team Makhachev” is now 3-0 against “Team Oliveira” after Islam Mamedov and Tagir Ulanbekov won decisions over Jorge Patino and Allan Nascimento at WSOF and UFC, respectively, and Makhachev beat Oliveira for UFC gold. Makhachev’s sole MMA loss came by the hands of Adriano Martins, who only joined Chute Boxe years after that win.
“I remember the reaction after Charles’ loss in Abu Dhabi,” Brenner said on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca. “All the Russians around us, and us pissed at all of them. We were with 10 or 15 Brazilians in the stands and all those Russians screaming and pointing at us, a bunch of son of a guns. This fight with Zubaira is very interesting to me for that reason.”
Brenner stepped in as a replacement for Joel Alvarez on Feb. 11, and said Tukhugov’s comments lit extra fire in him.
“He said he had never heard of me before, that he was ‘given a present for 2023.’ He’ll have 15 minutes to know me — if he makes it to the end,” Brenner said. “And if we we go the distance, my hands will be raised, not his.”
The 25-year-old Brazilian makes his UFC debut after winning two fights in a row via first-round stoppage, and he had “do Bronx” in his corner for his most recent bout in Mexico. Brenner assures “my game has evolved so much since I’ve joined Chute Boxe,” and he’s a much better athlete than the one that competed in Russia in 2019, when he lost a decision to Sergey Andreev in St. Petersburg.
“I’ve fought a Russian before but it was in his home, and these guys are dirty,” Brenner said. “Sorry for the word, but these guys are really dirty. If you fight there, you either kill them or they won’t give you the win. I fought there and I know what it’s like. I’ve felt their strength, but I’m from Amazonas, I’m jiu-jitsu, and I have nothing to fear.”
Despite that previous experience in Russia, Tukhugov’s comments and Makhachev’s victory over his teammate, Brenner guarantees he’s a professional above all else, and will be ice cold inside the cage.
“Fighting him reminds me of Abu Dhabi, that those guys were there, but I’m cold when I’m fighting, I’m smart,” he said. “You can’t show any emotions.”
Brenner scored 11 of his 13 professional MMA victories by way of submission, eight of those in the opening stanza, and feels that’s the easier path to victory against Tukhugov. That being said, working on his hands and kicks with coach Diego Lima in Sao Paulo gives him confidence on the feet as well.
“Zubaira is a wrestler who only has one submission in his career and seven knockouts, and he gets lost if you put pressure and don’t let him find himself,” Brenner said. “In my opinion, not to be cocky, it’s a great matchup for me. I’m very comfortable with this fight. That’s the truth.”
Having imitated Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Makhachev in sparring sessions with Oliveira in the gym to help prepare the former champ ahead of his previous UFC bouts, Brenner feels he’s one step ahead of Tukhugov at UFC 284.
“This AKA vs. Chute Boxe duel, we’ll reverse the score,” Brenner said. “There’s myself at 155, Charles will catch Makhachev soon, and [Daniel Santos] ‘Willycat’ can fight Umar [Nurmagomdov]. You can say it’s 3-1 for AKA because Adriano Martins knocked out Makhachev, and we’ll start to reverse the score.”