LAS VEGAS — LFA CEO Ed Soares announced an update today for the promotion's return to Brazil. LFA 126 on Friday will be topped with a championship doubleheader, but a change was made at the top of the card.
The featherweight and welterweight titles will both be on the line after previous champions Bruno Souza and Carlos Leal signed with the UFC and PFL, respectively. This will be the third LFA event to take place in Rio de Janeiro after the promotion's international expansion took place last summer.
"LFA 126: Bilharinho vs. Delano" takes place Friday, March 11 at Complexo Ribalta in Rio de Janeiro. The main event will feature a featherweight title fight between top prospects Jonas Bilharinho and Jose Delano. The co-main event will also feature a championship bout, when fierce finishers Gabriel Bonfim and Eduardo Garvon battle for the welterweight title. The entire main card will be available worldwide on UFC FIGHT PASS® at 9 p.m. ET.
"We had a late change at the top of LFA 126, but we are excited to still bring two title fights to Brazil on Friday," Soares stated. "Jonas Bilharinho will now fight Jose Delano for the LFA featherweight title after Rafael Barbosa was forced to withdraw from the bout. Bilharinho is coming off a highlight reel knockout win on Dana White's Contender Series, while Delano captured the Shooto Brasil featherweight title in his last fight. The winner will become the sixth featherweight champion in LFA history."
Bilharinho (9-1-1) is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport. The highly-touted Brazilian is coming off an electrifying wheel kick knockout this past November on Dana White's Contender Series. The win came against LFA standout Canaan Kawaihae, who had accepted the fight with Bilharinho shortly after it was announced he would be fighting for the LFA featherweight title in August. Now Bilharinho will get the next shot at LFA gold, which is a position he has already been in. The man often referred to as the "Brazilian Conor McGregor" was set to fight for the title in the main event of LFA 85 in April 2020 before the COVID-19 lockdown postponed the event. Now he will look to finally capture the title in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro at LFA 126.
Delano (9-2) was already busy training for this event as he was scheduled to fight top undefeated prospect Gabriel Braga to kick off the main card of LFA 126. However, when Barbosa withdrew from the title fight during fight week, Delano jumped at the opportunity to fight for the LFA featherweight title at the top of the card. Delano has a knack for capturing gold, as we saw in his last fight against Luciano Benicio. Delano earned a unanimous decision victory over the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to win the Shooto Brasil featherweight title. Now the talented Brazilian Top Team product, who is a protege of former UFC champion and MMA legend Murilo Bustamante, looks to add his first world title to his growing trophy case when he faces Bilharinho at LFA 126.
The co-main event of LFA 126 will feature two of the top 170-pound prospects in Brazil as they vie to become the LFA's seventh welterweight champion and third consecutive Brazilian to win the title.
Bonfim (11-0) defeated Brenner Alberth via TKO at LFA 112 in the third round of their semifinal bout in a fight that won LFA "Fight of the Year." However, the punishment dished out between the two undefeated prospects prevented Bonfim from continuing in the tournament. He will now get his chance at LFA gold in the co-main event of LFA 126.
Garvon (13-3-1) is a talented muay Thai based fighter known as "Matrix" from Curitiba, which is a city synonymous with striking greatness. Garvon earned his shot at the title based on a body of work that now has him ranked as one of the top welterweights in South America. That includes a recent regional title victory against Ueliton Lopes in his home state of Parana in southern Brazil. He secured the win with a vicious head kick that he followed with an onslaught of strikes on the ground that brought a stop to the fight via second round TKO.
With the change, the LFA 126 lineup now includes:
- Jonas Bilharinho vs. Jose Delano – for vacant featherweight title
- Gabriel Bonfim vs. Eduardo Garvon – for vacant welterweight title
- Ismael Bonfim vs. Andrey Augusto
- Andre Vieira vs. Eduardo Neves
- Tamires Vidal vs. Queila Braga
- Rodolfo Bellato vs. Thiago Vieira
- Gabriel Braga vs. Rogerio Furtado