His name suggests he should be using his powerful legs to direct soccer balls past helpless goalkeepers, but Jose “Pele” Landi prefers to use them to punish his opponents in the ring.
Raised in Brazil, Landi eschewed his country’s national sport (despite being quite good – hence his nickname), instead choosing a career in mixed martial arts. Soccer’s loss was certainly MMA’s gain.
Since turning pro 15 years ago, the 33-year-old has become a world renowned fighter whose deadly Muay Thai knees have put some of the biggest names in the sport to sleep. In fact, Landi’s professional MMA record of 22-12 reads like a who’s who of the sport, with impressive wins over fellow legends like Pat Miletich and Matt Hughes, and hard-fought losses to guys like Chuck Liddell and Carlos Newton.
Knowledgeable fans will notice the aforementioned opponents vary in size. “That’s because to a Brazilian weight classes mean nothing,” says Bodog Nation’s MMA writer Jeff “Wombat” Meszaros. “They’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
For the record, the 170-pound Landi will be fighting another welterweight in Florida’s Mitch McElroy (3-0) on the next episode of Bodog Fight: Paradise Lost this Tuesday, July 24th at 11 p.m. / 10 p.m. Central on ION television and in Canada on The Fight Network.
Not surprisingly, Landi plans to bring all his experience to bear against the comparatively green McElroy.
“Every time I fight I rely on my experience, which is my greatest strength. But I learn to never underestimate my opponent. He could connect with a hit that would define my defeat! That’s why I always train hard.”
These days, the former Chute Boxe Academy member trains with Revolution Fight Team in British Columbia, Canada where he rolls with fighters like Kalib Starnes, Todd Gouwenberg, Tyler “TNT” Jackson and Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill.
“I feel comforatable in Vancouver now,” says Landi. “Especially since I have been joined there by my wife and son. Fighting and family are the two things I have pure feelings for.”
Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm
The episode also features another Brazilian, Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm (5-3), who takes on California’s hard-hitting Molly Helsel (3-5) in the 125-pound weight division.
As the nickname suggests, the 27-year-old Damm is a knockout, and well known in Japan for her clothed pictorial in Japanese Playboy. But this “Ring Barbie” is just as capable of knocking out her competition, although the Jiu-Jitsu specialist is more likely to win by submission.
“I like to kick and punch to entertain the fans so I hope this fight does not go to the ground, but if it does I am well prepared.”
Fans of Bodog Fight will remember the flamboyant Damm from the St. Petersburg series, where she was caught in an armbar by the indomitable Rosi Sexton. Looking to rebound from that defeat, Damm has had an easier time adapting to her surroundings.
“Russia was very cold for my brother, Rodrigo, and I,” says Damm. “It was difficult to fight my best. But it is much better this time, because Costa Rica is sunny and warm, just like Brazil, and we will be fighting on the beach.”
Can’t catch the action on ION (or The Fight Network in Canada)? All episodes of the Bodog Fight series are available worldwide through streaming video at BodogFight.com, with behind-the-scenes exclusives, fighter bios and additional footage only available online.
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