Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, November 28, 2007 – The Rio Heroes steel cage rattled with unbridled anticipation as eight middleweight warriors squared off in the twelfth installment of the world’s only true Vale Tudo fighting league. And they did not disappoint the thousands of fight fans who tuned into see Rio Heroes 12, an event that featured a former champion whose quest to regain his glory fell short due to injury and a crowd favorite who made the most of his golden opportunity.
The night kicked off with Flavio Alvaro, the 30-year-old Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu master, looking to reclaim the Rio Heroes Middleweight title. He had no trouble in dispatching Luke Macarena in the first qualifying match. One minute and thirty seconds into their bout, Alvaro took Macarena to the ground and choked him out. Alvaro’s quick victory allowed him to rest up and save his energy for the semi-final round where he squared off against Egidio Amaro, a former heavyweight gladiator who easily handled Welsi Mello in the second qualifier.
In the night’s most electrifying bout, Fagner Masterdonte and Wagner Pinho battled for more than fifteen minutes in the third qualifier of the evening. At the five minute mark, it looked like Masterdonte was tanking, but he recovered with an explosion of punches and kicks that stunned Pinho. But Masterdonte couldn’t keep it up as Pinho inflicted a deep cut over Fagner’s right eyebrow. After referee Jorge Pereira briefly stopped the action so doctors could tend to Masterdonte’s injury, Pinho finished him with a flurry of blows to the head, prompting Pereira to call the fight.
In what was supposed to be the most competitive round of the tournament, Rio Heroes Middleweight Champion Pedro “Stone Hands” Santos easily dominated Rafael Motta, who was hoping to beat the champ for a possible Rio Heroes 5 finals rematch with Alvaro. However, Santos had other plans as he easily dominated Motta by repeatedly slammed him with head butts and take-downs. Santos practially toyed with Motta before finishing him with a series of head blows that led referee Jorge Pereira to call the fight. Santos showed his championship prowess with a shot to the jaw and a huge right hook to the cheekbone that sent Motta sprawling to the ground.
In the first semi-final, Amaro, the crowd favorite, didn’t last long against Alvaro, who was more than determined to reach the final and a possible Rio Heroes 8 grudge match against Santos. Despite broken fingers in his right hand, Alvaro, nicknamed “El Sobriviente” for his uncanny ability to survive the toughest adversity, quickly subdued Amaro by taking him to the ground and pinning him, forcing Amaro to tap out. Alvaro’s quest fell short when his injured right hand prevented him from moving on to the final, but Amaro was more than ready and anxious to fill the slot.
An injury also sidelined Wagner Pinho, who was replaced by Carlos Ferreira, who quickly took Santos to the ground with a headlock. For a while, Ferreira made it competitive as he relentlessly fought Santos advances on his back. But the champ could not be stopped as Stone Hands was determined to be the first back-to-back champion on Rio Heroes.
It wasn’t easy. Amaro kept Santos at bay for much of the final bout as he avoided “Stone Hands” attempts to take the fight to the ground. At one point, Amaro placed Santos in a reverse chokehold but the move didn’t go anywhere. Eventually Santos, who entered the final round with his left eye swollen shut, gained the upper hand by finally locking Amaro’s arm while they were on the ground and getting him to tap out. After reclaiming his belt, Santos praised the other fighters for their unrelenting stamina and determination. “To be the best I had to fight some of the toughest fighters ever to enter the Rio Heroes ring,” Santos said. “That makes my victory even sweeter. I can’t wait to defend my belt again.”
Broadcasting live from a steel cage in Rio De Janeiro, Rio Heroes vale tudo fighters compete without gloves, rounds, or time limits in no-holds barred action. The league embraces the highest levels of honor and integrity common among all vale tudo masters.