There’s nothing quite like a little Zuluzinho fight on a Tuesday afternoon in 2021 – especially when he floors his opponent and almost pulls off an upset.
Zuluzinho, 42, lost a majority decision to Yusup Shuaev at an AMC Fight Nights event held in an aptly named WOW Arena in Sochi, Russia.
Yes, I’m talking about that Zuluzinho. The same “Little Zulu” who competed in PRIDE over a decade-and-a-half ago. The one who fought Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2005.
At 6-foor-6 and 397 pounds, Zuluzinho took his time going down the entrance stairs and strutted his way to the cage. As one can probably guess by looking at the images and videos associated with this blog post, mobility was never Zuluzinho’s strong suit, which is still the case 15 years later.
Sounds like the crossroads between a freakshow fight and a set-up record-booster, right? Well, weirdly enough, in very MMA fashion, it didn’t play out exactly as expected.
Very late in Round 1, Zuluzinho (12-10) ended the lackluster tempo with an overhand right that floored Shuaev (7-0-1). As Shuaev fell onto the mat, Zuluzinho toppled over him as he looked for the finish.
That’s when the referee got involved and confusion ensued. Now, obviously, there was a language barrier. Zuluzinho got off his opponent and celebrated what he thought to be his fourth consecutive MMA win. However, in reality, the round had ended, so the referee separated the fighters.
With his butt crack peeking out of his long, black pants for the full duration of the 15 minutes, Zuluzinho never backed down from his opponent. Late in Round 3, Zuluzinho displayed true showmanship. He jigged and danced when there was a lull in the action – and even purposely leaned forward to goad Shuaev into throwing a head kick.
Though much of his attack was a slow plod forward or from a stationary position, Zuluzinho (dare I say, all things considered) looked much better than I expected. I mean, no one was expecting he’d win, right? And he almost did.
It’s easy to stare in awe at the weirdness, but Zuluzinho had the guts, at age 42, to do something many people 15 years younger wouldn’t ever consider. Something I wouldn’t consider. I’ll always give props to anyone who steps into that cage, but especially the pioneers of the sport.
So hats off, Zuluzinho. I’m glad you’re still having fun after all these years. The next time you fight, entertain away. You know I’ll be watching.
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