Brutally effective technique ends ‘no gloves–no rules’ fight
The short-lived Brazilian Vale Tudo promotion ‘Rio Heroes’ quickly became notorious for it’s ‘no gloves – no rules’ policy in the late-2000’s, and it led to ultra-violent knockouts like the infamous one shown here that would have been illegal in any other organization.
Rio Heroes was an underground, unauthorized series of events that were actually held at an unmarked, secret location in the city of Sao Paulo in Brazil between 2007 and 2008.
The promotion bucked the trend towards increased regulation in the sport of MMA at the time by going back to it’s old-school Vale Tudo roots, dispensing with almost all the rules that people had come to expect.
That meant bareknuckle fights with no time limits or judges, no moves being illegal other than eye-gouging, biting and groin strikes, and with bouts only coming to an end by either a knockout or submission.
Cranking he brutality up another notch, the events were one-night only tournaments, meaning that fighters had to compete multiple times in the space of just a few hours to win the main prize, a comparatively paltry sum, generally ranging from $2000 – $3000.
The video here shows a semi-final fight from ‘Rio Heroes 6’ in July of 2007 as Ivanildo ‘Cafu’ Santos took on Jose Gledson.
‘Cafu’ dropped Gledson with a right hook around 90 seconds into the fight, then just missed with a head stomp for good measure before letting him stand back up.
A few minutes later ‘Cafu’ was still in the ascendancy as he worked his way into the clinch and began to take advantage of the lack of rules by landing a few headbutts from close range.
Gledson didn’t like that one bit, but as he winced in pain and tried to compose himself, ‘Cafu’ suddenly landed another violent headbutt to the jaw that knocked him out cold, with his body just completely shutting down and slumping to the floor in a heap.
’Cafu’ would go on to win the tournament and continued to fight for ‘Rio Heroes’ right up until the police finally caught up with the owners and shut them down after their 14th event in January of 2008.