LAS VEGAS, Nevada — LFA CEO Ed Soares announced today that the promotion will return to Brazil in March with a championship doubleheader at LFA 126. 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, Brazil after the promotion’s international expansion took place last summer.
LFA 126: Bilharinho vs. Barbosa takes place Friday, March 11th at Complexo Ribalta in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The main event will feature a featherweight title fight between top prospects Jonas “Shiva” Bilharinho and Rafael “Coxinha” Barbosa. The co-main event will also feature a championship bout, when LFA standouts Gabriel “Marretinha” Bonfim and Quemuel Ottoni battle for the welterweight title. The entire main card will be available worldwide on UFC FIGHT PASS® at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
“We are excited to feature two LFA title fights when we return to Brazil at LFA 126,” stated Soares. “Jonas Bilharinho and Rafael Barbosa are two of the top prospects in the world. Bilharinho is coming off a highlight reel knockout win on Dana White’s Contender Series, while Barbosa has two wins inside the LFA Octagon including one on Dana White: Lookin’ For A Fight. They will fight for the vacant featherweight title. Then in the co-main event, Gabriel Bonfim and Quemuel Ottoni will fight for the vacant welterweight title after they both won fights in the inaugural LFA Welterweight Grand Prix last summer.”
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.
Barbosa (14-4) makes his return to the LFA Octagon after shaking up the division in 2019. The man known as “Coxinha” used his world-class karate skills to do so. Barbosa started by winning his LFA debut with UFC President Dana White sitting cageside. His win over Cameron Graves at LFA 63 was featured on the Season 4 premiere of Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight. In fact, White heaped praise on Barbosa during the build up to the fight, “Barbosa is 10-1…he’s 21-years-old though. This kid has so much more time to learn and grow.” That growth continued in the main event of LFA 68, where he scored a beautiful standing elbow knockout win over former LFA title challenger Nate Jennerman. Now at the age of 24, Barbosa looks to claim LFA gold in his home country.
The co-main event of LFA 126 will feature the promotion’s top two 170-pound contenders as they vie to become the LFA’s seventh welterweight champion. Bonfim (11-0) and Ottoni (11-3) both won fights at LFA 112 in the inaugural LFA Welterweight Grand Prix, which highlighted the LFA’s historic two-event debut showcase in Brazil last summer.
Bonfim defeated Brenner Alberth via TKO in the third round of their semi-final 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 main event of LFA 126.
Ottoni competed earlier that night in an alternate bout at the LFA 112: Welterweight Grand Prix. He defeated Junior Marques via Unanimous Decision in another grueling contest, which also prevented him from fighting in the tournament final when Bonfim could not continue. Now the man, who is widely known in MMA as the only man to defeat UFC star, LFA great, and GLORY champ-champ Alex “Poatan” Pereira, will also get his well-deserved title shot.
Currently Announced Fight Card (Main Card Available worldwide on UFC FIGHT PASS®):
Main Event | Featherweight Title Bout (145 lb)
- Jonas Bilharinho (9-1-1) vs. Rafael Barbosa (14-4)
Co-Main Event | Welterweight Title Bout (170 lb)
- Gabriel Bonfim (11-0) vs. Quemuel Ottoni (11-3)
Lightweight Bout (155 lb)
- Ismael Bonfim (16-3) vs. Andrey Augusto (12-2)
Heavyweight Bout (265 lb)
- Andre Vieira (5-0) vs. Eduardo Neves (4-0)
Light-Heavyweight Bout (205 lb)
- Rodolfo Bellato (7-1) vs. Thiago Vieira (11-4)
Flyweight Bout (125 lb)
- Inaildo Santos (8-0) vs. Mateus Brauns (7-1)
Featherweight Bout (145 lb)
- Gabriel Braga (6-0) vs. Jose Delano (9-2)
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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