Diego “Ceará” Brandão was all emotions just after submitting Dennis Bermudez at TUF Finale 14. Besides earning the distinction of being the first Brazilian to win the reality show, the black belt secured a UFC contract for his perfect campaign on the program, where he notched three first-round knockouts in the lead-up to the first-round armbar that capped off his season. What’s more, the submission hold earned Brandão two “Best of” bonuses on the night.
“When I landed, I waited for the right moment to sink the armbar,” he explained.
With 80,000 dollars in bonus money on top of his purse – the payout hasn’t yet been announced –, the black belt hopes to fulfill the dream that was a driving force in his victories.
“I made a promise when I was at home: I’m going to donate 15,000 dollars, which in Brazil comes to about 30,000 reais. I’ll donate it to children with cancer in Brazil, and I’m going to visit them in the hospital. I hope to make Christmas better for the kids this year, because I didn’t have a happy one–my father died,” the Manaus native told MMAJunkie.com.
“Mission accomplished. The last three years have been a war for me here in the USA. I couldn’t see my family; I learned to speak English… It was rough. I didn’t go to school when I was a kid. I worked hard so my family could get by,” he said.
With the win Diego becomes the latest Manaus native to bolster the UFC’s featherweight division – current champion José Aldo is from the city, too.