BRAVE CF Super Lightweight world title challenger Leonardo “Macarrão” Mafra arrived at BRAVE Combat Federation back in 2017 surrounded by expectation, being a very familiar face to the international MMA community and regarded as one of the most talented names fighting out of Southern Brazil. After dealing with last-minute cancellations, he would go on to fight for the fastest-growing MMA organization in the next year.
But all of this anticipation quickly turned into desperation. As he stepped into the BRAVE CF arena for the very first time, back in May, 2018, Mafra wasn’t able to complete a single round and suffered the worst injury of his entire professional career.
While trading blows with Gadzhimusa Gaziev at BRAVE CF 12, he screamed in pain and forced the referee to stop their fight, a contest that was close but seemed to be going well for the Brazilian.
But it wasn’t a punch or a kick that made Leonardo wince in pain. He tore his ACL while setting up strikes and had to immediately go into surgery.
With the support of BRAVE CF, he started a long process of recovery, physically and mentally, in order to get back to the cage. The battle wasn’t easy, though. Despite the severity of the knee injury, the anxiety for a quick comeback didn’t help throughout the process.
But Leonardo Mafra was able to overcome the most challenging moments of his life as a Mixed Martial Artist and did so in style. He decided to move to the newly inaugurated Super Lightweight division and got a huge win over Djamil Chan in his home country of Brazil, which put him in the spotlight for a title shot. It didn’t hurt that he immediately called out for Eldar Eldarov after beating Chan.
It is fair to say that Mafra already left the dark days behind but his first world title, against arguably the toughest challenge available out there in that weight class globally, would be the icing of the cake, and what a beautiful shining icing is this, of a fantastic saga.
He finally faces off against Eldar Eldarov at BRAVE CF 46, on January 16th, in Sochi, Russia. Their much-anticipate title fight will be the main attraction of BRAVE Combat Federation’s first-ever visit to Russia. Other huge names are set to do battle with the likes of Roman Bogatov, Konstantin Erokhin, and Ali Bagautinov all confirmed for action.