Reported on July 16, TUF8 finalist Vinny Magalhaes (9-5(1)) has officially resigned with the UFC. The Brazilian standout has competed outside the UFC since being released in 2009 after going 0-2 in the promotion which first included losing in the finale of TUF8 against winner Ryan Bader via Rnd1 TKO in December 2008. Since his release Magalhaes has gone 7-1 with all victories coming by way of stoppage and capturing the M-1 Light Heavyweight title, and had also been actively competing in BJJ competitions including winning gold in the ADCC +99kg category in 2011. He is expected to make his return to the octagon at UFC 151 in September, though an opponent has yet to be named.
Coming into TUF8 Magalhaes was recognized as a BJJ ace and rightly so with credentials including being a 14x gold medalist, 3x silver medalist, and a 5x bronze medalist in various BJJ competitions. While competing in the TUF8 tournament he proved his discipline as he won every bout in the tournament via stoppage with his first opponent forfeiting due to a rib injury and submitting the next two in the first round before going to the finale. Taking on heavy hitting 2x NCAA1 All-American collegiate wrestler Ryan Bader in the finale, Magalhaes suffered a Rnd1 TKO loss almost halfway into the round thus losing the tournament, and next suffered a Unanimous Decision loss to fellow TUF8 alumni Eliot Marshall which led to his release from the UFC.
Rebounding from a 0-2 stint in the UFC intent on making a comeback, Magalhaes returned to form with two straight Rnd1 Submission finishes. Next suffering a minor setback with a Unanimous Decision loss competing at Shark Fights 9, he rebounded strongly again with three straight stoppage victories with the first two coming by way of Rnd2 Submission and the third by Rnd1 TKO. Riding an impressive win streak Magalhaes was slated to fight for the M-1 Light Heavyweight title defeating champion Viktor Nemkov via Rnd3 Submission with a mounted Gogoplata/neck crank combination. Next making his first and only title defense he took on Mikhail Zayats where he won via Rnd3 TKO knocking him down with a head kick and finishing with strikes. What made this his only title defense however was the controversy that occurred during the bout. During the bout Magalhaes noticed that the promotion’s president Vadim Finkelchtein was actively rooting for and coaching Zayats while sitting ringside. While supporting Zayats was not a big surprise since Finkelchtein is a fellow Russian, promoters are normally not supposed to be coaching the fighters at all. This fueled the suspicions that some fans and analysts had in believing that M-1 was biased and at times corrupt.
Feeling disrespected by the promotion Magalhaes decided he wanted to opt out of his contract with M-1, though that proved to be more difficult than he thought. Under contract Magalhaes either had to fulfill his side of the deal by fighting a certain number of times or allow the contract to expire over time. Clearly not wanting to compete for M-1 any longer he decided to wait out the remainder of his contract, which finally expired this month of July. While he has not competed in MMA since October 2011, he has remained active in training conducting BJJ seminars, now trains fighters out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada, and recently helped train 2x UFC Middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen for his most recent challenge for the title at UFC 148.
Now returning to the octagon three years since his dismissal, Magalhaes has improved his stock as he enters again with a decorated background in BJJ competitions with the 2011 ADCC championship in hand, going 7-1 since his release with all victories coming by way of stoppage, and coming into the promotion technically as an unbeaten champion from M-1 since he vacated his position never having lost while champion. Magalhaes will definitely be one of the more credentialed and elite BJJ practitioners among the Light Heavyweight roster, and in his time away from the UFC has improved his stand-up game as shown in his most recent bout where he finished his opponent with a variety of strikes.
Possible opponents for return bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (BJJ black belt, credentialed boxer), Alexander Gustafsson (extensive reach, diverse striker, improved ground game), Rashad Evans (former division champion, one of sport’s top wrestlers, BJJ black belt, diverse kickboxing), Igor Pokrajac (powerful boxing, strong wrestling).
*These listed opponents are those that could be readily available within the time frame allotted.
Written by @MMAFanHQ