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Jungle Fight Lightweight Guilherme Rodrigues Murdered in Brazil, Just One Day After Nova Uniao Fighter Meets the Same Fate


(Photo via Alan Oliveira/Sherdog.)

Two MMA fighters. Two murders. Two days.

That’s the startling reality facing the Brazilian city of Natal, which is set to host Fight Night 38 on March 23rd. On Tuesday, it was reported that Luiz de Franca, a 3-0 welterweight training out of Kimura Nova Uniao, was shot to death inside a gym on Monday morning. The main suspect? A police lieutenant, of all people, who used to train at the Alta Performance gym until he was thrown for being “too violent” some 15 days before Franca’s murder. Said Franca’s teammate and UFC middleweight Rafael Natal:

It was a cowardly act. Really sad to see a guy full of life, that always helped everybody, die like that. I want justice.

Wanderlei Silva, who had trained with Franca in early 2012, also shared his condolences, stating via his Facebook, “I’m really sad. Luiz de Franca, who trained with us in Las Vegas for almost a year, was brutally murdered this Monday morning in Natal. He was only 25 and never got himself in trouble. He was a good kid.”

Police colonel Lenildo Sena told reporters that the crime was caught on tape, but they have yet to determine if it was the cop, who had a history of depression (also according to Sena), who killed the 25-year-old Franca.

As if the horrific and inexplicable murder of one human being wasn’t enough, word broke earlier today that Jungle Fight lightweight Guilherme Matos Rodrigues had died on the operating table shortly after being shot in Natal last night as well. No suspect has yet been named in his case.

Although there has been no connection made between the two murders, Rodrigues’ training partner and Bellator featherweight Patricio Freire suggested something sinister to MMAFighting, stating that

Guilherme was in the best time of his life now. He just majored in Physical Education and kept fighting. Everything he did was work and train.I have no idea who would do a brutality like that to him. He was a handsome guy, everybody knew who he was, so maybe someone was jealous of him.

There’s not much I can say, really, other than that it has truly been an unbelievable couple of days for the city of Natal and the MMA community in general. Our hearts go out to the families of Franca and Rodrigues, and we will keep you updated on their cases as information is made available.

-J. Jones

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