Although many of the gym's greatest moments happened in the IVC and Pride, away from the eyes of the casual Western fan, Chute Boxe may be the greatest team in the history of MMA.
Anderson Silva, Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons, Ninja Rua, Shogun Rua, Thiago Silva, and Wanderlei Silva are just some of the names that came out of the Curitiba-based team. Training was tough, and in the Vale Tudo era, once a week the team took off gloves and went at it no rules.
When the sport of mixed martial arts was young, there were clesrly distinct styles of play. BJJ players tried to get in close, take it to the ground, hang on, and work for a submission. Wrestlers looked for a takedown and then pounded away from top.
The Chute Boxe style was unique like a finger print. With ferocious, intensely focused determination, a Chute Boxe fighter would blow out or grind down an opponent with a skilled, relentless striking attack. Caution was for the weak. Force was the strategy. When for the first time Wanderlei Silva faced the most feared striker in the sport, a much larger Mirko Cro Cop, The Axe Murderer's strategy was to out strike him, and he did. Only a peculiarity in the rules gave Wand a draw rather than the win he earned.
The defensive aspect of the Chute Boxe game was basically to make the other fighter so concerned about keeping his lights on that he was unable to properly focus on turning yours off. Submission wasn't the name of the game, a beating was.
Athough it only lasted 16 seconds, Cris Cyborg epitomized the Chute Boxe style Saturday night. Her pre fight hairy eyeball was intimidating; the receiver of a Chute Boxe staredown knows what a zebra feels like when facing a hyena. Cyborg had an opportunity to go for a rear naked, and instead opted to keep striking. Her striking was fearless, without caution, and overwhelming, and successful.
A lot of people cite Gina Carano as the figure who helped women's MMA come of age. But you could make a compelling argument that it was when Cris 'Cyborg' Santos, a woman, came to be the best representative of perhaps the greatest team in the sport's history.
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