With Shootboxing's 2012 S-Cup less than a month away, the final participant has been announced, leaving only 1 fight-in spot left later tonight at REBELS.13 as Henri van Opstal fights Yuichiro Nagashima. However, the announcement that came from Shootboxing was that 2-time Hero's Middleweight Grand Prix winner Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante will be the last competitor in the 2012 S-Cup. He joins Andy Souwer, Warren Stevelmans, Hiroki Shishido, Hiroaki Suzuki, Bovy Sor Udomson, the winner of van Opstal/Nagashima and the man to hand him his first MMA defeat, Joachim Hansen
Cavalcante debuted in MMA in 2004, winning his first two fights before taking a big step up and fighting former Shooto 154lb champin Joachim Hansen in just his third pro fight. Cavalcante lost that fight, but went on a 12-0-1 run following that fight, finishing all but two of his opponents and winning the 2006 and 2007 K-1 Hero's Middleweight (154lb) Grand Prix with wins over Caol Uno, Vitor Ribeiro, Hiroyuki Takaya and Rani Yahya, among others. With PRIDE's collapse and subsequent purchase by the UFC, FEG discontinued K-1 Hero's for DREAM, with a Lightweight Tournament headlining and more specifically, an opening round matchup between Cavalcante and DREAM posterboy Shinya Aoki. Their first fight ended in a no contest due to illegal blows to the back of the head, but a rematch saw Aoki come out on top, though Cavalcante was competitive. Another competitive loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri put Cavalcante up against rising star Katsunori Kikuno, who Cavalcante was able to out-grapple to a split decision win. Cavalcante then moved on to Strikeforce, where he went 1-2 with a no contest, losing very close fights to Josh Thomson and Isaac Vallie-Flagg, with the win a split decision over Bobby Green. His most recent fight was a knockout loss to Luis Palomino, putting Cavalcante at 2-5-0, 2 NC since his 12-0-1 run. It's clear that Cavalcante is not the same top fighter he was when he won back to back K-1 Hero's Grand Prix, with a torn knee ligament in 2007 likely being a major contributor to his recent lack of success, but Cavalcante is still an entertaining fighter with his MMA roots planted in Japan and much like fellow competitor Joachim Hansen, will draw eyes to the event because of his success in K-1 Hero's. There is no doubt that Cavalcante's key to success in this S-Cup will have to follow the path of Toby Imada 2 years ago, scoring throws and standing submissions to earn points and Cavalcante showed in 2007 when he faced Masato under K-1 rules that he can stand with an elite striker and not get finished. Yes, that was the 2007 version of Cavalcante, but considering how well Toby Imada did in 2010 after being a journeyman for most of his MMA career, I don't think Cavalcante is by any means a bad choice and I think he can win a fight or two in this tournament if he gets a good matchup.