Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro, the 27-year-old reigning 2008 Mundials black belt absolute champion, younger brother of 6x world champion Saulo Ribeiro, and co-founder of Saulo & Xande Ribeiro’s University of Jiu Jitsu in San Diego, California will be making his professional MMA debut on September 28, 2008 at World Victory Road – Sengoku 5. He will be facing PRIDE veteran Takashi Sugiura (1-2) at the National Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
Sugiura made a name for himself in Japan as an accomplished amateur wrestler and later as a professional wrestler working for Pro Wrestling NOAH. He is noted as being the first wrestler to make his pro wrestling debut in NOAH and he is also a founding member of the Dark Agents stable. Sugiura entered the MMA scene in 2002, relying heavily on his amateur wrestling credentials. He debuted at PRIDE 21 – Demolition, losing a narrow split decision to Daniel Gracie. He would return to MMA in 2004 at PRIDE – Bushido 4. He won this fight via TKO against the 7’2″, 385-pound Brazilian monster Paulo Cesar “Giant” Silva. Sugiura’s third and most recent bout came in 2006 at Pancrase – Blow 3. He lost via KO due to foot stomps against Ryuta Noji.
Xande who is fresh off of winning his 2008 Mundials absolute title in June, also won the 2007 ADCC 99 kg- division in May of 2007. He is a 5x Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion, 3x Grapplers Quest Champion, 2x World Cup Champion, 5x World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Mundials) Champion, 2x Absolute World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Mundials) Champion, and holds victories over fellow grappling phenoms Marcelo Garcia and Roger Gracie. Coincidentally, Roger will be fighting on the same WVR card against UFC and PRIDE veteran Travis Wiuff. This creates speculation that WVR may eventually host a potential MMA bout between the two jiu-jitsu world champion rivals Xande Ribeiro and Roger Gracie.