The Brazilian brothers once again had a chance to fight on the same card as each other. But at Dana White’s Contender Series 53, potential UFC contracts were on the line for each of them. And they delivered.
For the first time in the series’ history, siblings fought on the same card and won on the same card – and both Ismael and Gabriel were given UFC deals by promotion president Dana White.
“It’s very big – huge emotion – because it’s a project that’s been ongoing for 15 years,” Ismael said through a translator at a post-event news conference alongside his brother. “I started at age 7, and then (Gabriel) joined me shortly after that. I never thought we would be hyped together into this and we would be brought into (the UFC) together. Fifteen years of a project together and reaping what we sowed and getting the fruits of our work.”
Ismael Bonfim (18-3) fought first and took a unanimous decision from Nariman Abbasov (28-4). Gabriel Bonfim (13-0) fought in the co-feature and submitted Trey Waters (6-1) with a first-round Von Flue choke.
Oddly enough, the brothers said fighting on the same card as each other isn’t something they necessarily enjoy – though they’ll wind up looking back fondly on this particular event, no doubt.
“It’s a completely out-of-whack emotion and pressure because I’m thinking, ‘Dude, if I lose, I’m going to screw up (Gabriel’s) psyche, and he’s going to end up losing, too. So I’m going to win and put the pressure on him to perform even better,'” Ismael said.
Gabriel confirmed fighting after his brother means he gets a little added stress.
“I was telling (Ismael), ‘I do not want to be on the same card as you,'” Gabriel said. “This is the third time we’ve been on the same card, and I’m always the last one, and the pressure’s always on me. I do not want to do this again.”
But now with UFC contracts secured, they said if they have to fight on the same card again, they would – particularly if it means they can do it when the UFC returns to their home country of Brazil for UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro in January.
Gabriel just wants to request a change in the order they fight.
Check out the full interview with Ismael and Gabriel Bonfim in the video above.