By: Justin Felisko
January 13, 2016
DENVER – 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is doing an about-face.
Marchi announced in October that he was going to undergo surgery on his knees after multiple knee injuries derailed his 2015 season and would likely sit out the 2016 season.
The 13-year BFTS veteran tore his right MCL attempting to ride Oscar P during the third round of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals, close to two months after tearing his left PCL/MCL in Thackerville, Oklahoma, trying to make 8 seconds aboard Cut the Cord.
Marchi never underwent surgery, and he now wants to attempt a return to bull riding this weekend at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden.
Marchi informed the PBR competition department this week of his intentions and he is in the draw for not only the first PBR Major of the season, but also the first 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The 33-year-old is eligible for the 15/15 Bucking Battle after replacing Matt Triplett (elbow surgery) in the draw.
The first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the year is based on last year’s final world standings. Marchi concluded last season 16th in the world.
Marchi will face Walk Off (41-6, BFTS). He was bucked off by Walk Off in 5.54 seconds last year at the Fresno Invitational.
Here are the other 14 matchups:
Reese Cates vs. Seven Dust (2-0, BFTS)
Cody Nance vs. Stanley FatMax (62-4, BFTS)*
Gage Gay vs. Bootdaddy.com (15-7, BFTS)*
Valdiron de Oliveira vs. Fire Rock (25-12, BFTS)*
Silvano Alves vs. Cochise (2-2, BFTS)
Eduardo Aparecido vs. I’m a Gangster Too (43-12, BFTS)*
Nathan Schaper vs. Slinger Jr. (13-1, BFTS)*
Stetson Lawrence vs Sheep Creek (2-0, BFTS)
Tanner Byrne vs. Heat Seeker (3-1, BFTS)
J.W. Harris vs. Like a Boss (0-1, BFTS)
Fabiano Vieira vs. Midnight Train (1-0, BFTS)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Loose Change (2-0, BFTS)
Kaique Pacheco vs. Little Red Jacket (13-7, BFTS)*
J.B. Mauney vs. Shaft (21-2, BFTS)
Marchi is the defending event champion in New York and has drawn Wild Party for Round 1 on Friday night.
Cates earned a bid for the 15/15 Bucking Battle seeing as Cooper Davis has yet to be cleared to return to bull riding after undergoing surgery on his right hand/wrist.
Davis said he has been cleared to return for the BFTS event in Oklahoma City next week.
Pacheco is the only rider of the seven with rematches that previously covered his bull. The 21-year-old rode Little Red Jacket for 89.5 points in St. Louis last year for his first BFTS win.
There will be a total of seven riders competing in New York that did not finish inside the Top 35 last season.
World leader Wallace de Oliveira, Lachlan Richardson, Justin Paton,Cody Heffernan and Michael Lane are this week’s alternates, while Emilio Resende and Markus Mariluch are competing because of injury exemptions.
They are replacing the following riders in the draw: No. 5 Triplett (elbow surgery), No. 6 Davis (hand/wrist surgery), No. 24 Renato Nunes (retirement), No. 28 Bonner Bolton (neck) No. 30 Chase Outlaw (shoulder surgery), No. 33 L.J. Jenkins (retirement), No. 34 Alexandre Cardozo (neck).
Oliveira has a Round 1 matchup against Tex-lo, who is making his BFTS debut.
Paulo Lima is set to make his 2016 BFTS debut as he is competing with a BlueDEF Tour event win exemption.
Lima won the L.J. Jenkins Invitational in Clovis, New Mexico, in October and is currently fourth in the world standings.
The 28-year-old has drawn Playgun (3-0, BFTS) for Round 1.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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