LAS VEGAS – Joanderson Brito showed off his heavy hands at UFC on ESPN 35, but he also picked up his first promotional victory with a heavy heart.
As he revealed in his in-cage interview after he knocked out Andre Fili in 41 seconds, Brito (13-3-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is still processing the unexpected death of his uncle, which occurred in the day leading up to the fight.
“Everything was very quick, actually,” Brito told MMA Junkie at a post-fight news conference. “He was admitted to the hospital in the last 24-48 hours. He went into the hospital yesterday and he just passed away.”
Brito has a close family and tight knit team, including coach Joao Emilio, of Chute Boxe. While they offered support, Brito found it best to limit the amount of discussion about the death – until after the fight.
“My family (helped me), first of all,” Brito said. “My coaches were family to me, being with me. My family tried to hide it from me. When I found out, I talked to them briefly. But I tried to talk to virtually no one, just to not prolong the conversation. But now after winning and at this moment, I just want to take a shower. Now I’m going to talk to my family about this.”
Life comes with the good and the bad, and while the death of his uncle stings deeply, Brito is richer in experience and material wealth after UFC on ESPN 35. His first UFC victory was vicious in optics and came against a savvy veteran. A winner of one of four $50,000 performance bonuses, Brito has plans for his extra wad of fight night cash.
“I already have some land back at home to buy,” Brito said. “The money has a destination already. I know what to do with the bonus money, if I get it. … Land to just build a small ranch, kind of just to enjoy the weekends.”