Skip to main content
Gabriel Bonfim and Ismael Bonfim pose for a photo during Dana White's Contender Series season six, week seven weigh-in at Palace Station on September 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

The Bonfim Brothers Trained To Put On A 'Real Show'

Gabriel and Ismael Bonfim Hope To Debut With A Bang At UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

Ego is a funny thing, especially when it comes to siblings. But when asked if his older brother Ismael ever had to step in and play “big brother” for him when they were growing up in Brasilia, Gabriel admits with no hesitation that when things got a little heated, Ismael was the first on the scene.

“When the boys wanted to hit me at school, I called him to hit them, and he helped me out with those problems,” laughed Gabriel, 25.

“I remember having to go to his school because there were some boys who wanted to beat him up, and I had to take care of the situation as his older brother, and I took care of it,” Ismael, 27, concurs, also with a laugh.

Order UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

Today, both of the Bonfim boys are fighting their own battles, and they’ve done it so effectively that on Saturday night, they will make their Octagon debuts on the same UFC 283 card in Rio de Janeiro, with Ismael battling Terrance McKinney and Gabriel facing off with Mounir Lazzez.

Gabriel Bonfim of Brazil punches Trey Waters in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender series season six week seven at UFC APEX on September 06 2022 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Gabriel Bonfim of Brazil punches Trey Waters in a welterweight fight during Dana White's Contender series season six, week seven at UFC APEX on September 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


It’s not an easy night for the newcomers, and when you add in the pressure of fighting in front of a packed house at Jeunesse Arena, that could be an issue…unless you’re the Bonfim brothers. 

“Fighting in the UFC is my dream, even more so here in Brazil with the crowd in my favor,” said Ismael. “It makes me even more excited.”

“Honestly, I don't feel any pressure,” added Gabriel. “This is a great opportunity to show our work and we’re ready, so let's do it.”

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

If it helps at all, the Bonfims have been to three previous UFC events in their home country, Gabriel insisting the most recent time that the next show he went to would be with him “as a competitor, not a fan,” and Ismael also confident that his time to wear those three letters on his gloves was coming.

Saturday night, it’s all coming to fruition, yet while they’re the new kids on the block, a lifetime of work went into make this dream happen, and it all started with a competitive nature that exists to this day.

“We were always very competitive, even to the point of crying when one of us was beaten by the other,” said Ismael. “We've always been very competitive, but very supportive.”

Gabriel agrees.

“We have always been very competitive since childhood,” he laughed. “We always fought in training (laughs), but we’ve been very supportive of each other, too.”

Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 6 Week 7
Contract Winners And Interviews | Dana White’s Contender Series Season 6 Week 7
/

And inspired by a third sibling, older brother Odair, the future UFC fighters were off and running.

“It was always my goal to be a fighting athlete because of my older brother, who educated us in martial arts,” said Gabriel of Odair.

How To Watch UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill In Your Country

“I never wanted to be anything other than a fighter,” said Ismail, and with Odair leading the way, it’s safe to say that the “family business” was embraced by the rest of the Bonfim family.

“My family's feeling when I wanted to be a fighter was very respectful because being a fighter was in my blood,” said Gabriel. “They were very emotional about the UFC contract because it wasn't just my dream, but the dream of my whole family.”

“We have a very good family; they all support us a lot,” Ismael concurs. “My mother, my older brother and my sisters did everything to help us realize our dream, so they were just as happy when this happened, maybe even happier than us.”

Well, these brothers in harm were happy when they traveled to Las Vegas last September to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series. Welterweight Gabriel (12-0) and lightweight Ismael (17-3) each paid their dues on the regional circuit and were expected to do well in the UFC APEX, but that didn’t mean there weren’t nerves heading into the biggest bouts of their lives.

Ismael Bonfim of Brazil punches Nariman Abbasov of Azerbaijan in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender series season six week seven at UFC APEX on September 06 2022 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ismael Bonfim of Brazil punches Nariman Abbasov of Azerbaijan in a lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender series season six, week seven at UFC APEX on September 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


“A thousand things went through my head,” said Ismael, who went on to decision Nariman Abasov. “I had been through so much to get to that point, and I couldn’t help but think about all the obstacles that I had to overcome to get there.”

“The emotions were huge, because there was a chance to enter the UFC if you rise to the occasion, so I felt a little pressure there,” admitted Gabriel, who submitted Trey Waters.

When it was over, though, the pair didn’t just win fights, but UFC contracts. On Saturday, they break them in.

“Fans can expect a real show,” said Ismael. “On the 21st, we’re both going to enter that Octagon and do our best to please everyone with very memorable performances.”

“You can all expect a show, because we’ve trained our whole life to get where we are today, and we’re more than prepared for any challenge,” adds Gabriel.

UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill took place live from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 21, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass