Deadliest Warrior (2010): S02E05 – Aztec Jaguar vs. Zande Warrior


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


Aztec Jaguar, the ritualistic killer of the Aztec Empire, vs. a Zander Warrior, one of Central Africa’s most brutal war tribes.

  • Aztec Jaguar team: David Lavera (Aztec Descendant/Martial Artist), Éder Saúl López (Aztec Combat Historian)
    Aztec Jaguar weapons: Tecpatl, Maquahuitl, Tlacochtli & Atlatl, Tematlatl
    Aztec Jaguar armour: Wooden helmet, Ichcahuipilli tunic, Jaguar skin, Chimalli shield
  • Zande Warrior team: Coley Mustafa Speaks (Zande Combat Specialist), Gordon Jock (Zande Weapons Expert)
    Zande Warrior weapons: Makraka, Makrigga, Kpinga, Botto & Pima
    Zande Warrior armour: Kube shield
  • For short-range weapons, the Zande Warrior’s makraka took the edge over the Aztec Jaguar’s tecpatl sacrificial knife. In the test, both weapons were demonstrated as execution weapons. First, the tecpatl demonstrated human sacrifice rituals when the victim’s heart was removed; meanwhile, the makraka was used for beheading a bound prisoner. The makraka’s precision while beheading the ballistics dummy gave it the edge.
  • For mid-range weapons, the Aztec Jaguar’s maquahuitl took the edge over the Zande Warrior’s makrigga. The maquahuitl was tested on a ballistic gel horse head, in which the head was sawed off using three strikes. It is pointed out that the maquahuitl inflicted tearing wounds as opposed to cutting wounds, with the former causing greater bleed-out. Shards of obsidian were embedded in the gel, indicating the weapon would cause more damage if it hit. For the makrigga, the weapon was tested on a 300-pound piece of beef filled with animal blood and entrails. The weapon went through the beef, and with the weapon’s spiked barbs, pulled out entrails when it was pulled out. The maquahuitl, nicknamed “the obsidian chainsaw” by Geiger, was given the edge due to its greater destructive power.
  • For long-range weapons, the Zande Warrior’s kpinga took the edge over the Aztec Jaguar’s atlatl and tlacochtli. The test demonstrated the kpinga’s ability to use angular velocity by doing vertical throws at a crowd of warriors, one armed with a shield. The Kpinga manoeuvred and deflected off the enemy shield and struck another target. Later, the weapon was tested using a horizontal toss to cut through pork leg stand-ins. For the Aztecs, the atlatl and tlacochtli were tested. The weapon was capable of hitting targets at great distances, and capable of piercing the Zande shield to kill its target. However, the Kpinga proved to have more killing potential with multiple blades on the weapon, giving it the edge.
  • For special weapons, the Aztec Jaguar’s tematlatl took the edge over the Zande Warrior’s botto and pima. The tematlatl was tested on skulls, and only three of the five skulls were hit. Further analysis showed some of the hits were not fatal. The botto and pima did not fare well during its test either. Despite the arrows being poison-tipped, they could not penetrate the Jaguar’s cotton armour, preventing the poison from taking effect. The edge was ultimately given to the tematlatl, due to the weapon having better odds of killing its target.
  • The tematlatl is the only sling to be given the edge, and is also the only one to score more than one kill.
  • The tematlatl is the tenth weapon to be given the edge and score fewer kills than the opposing weapon.
  • The Aztec Jaguar is the fourth warrior to lose despite having the most effective weapon in the fight, which was the maquahuitl.
  • The Zande Warrior is the second warrior with at least one metal weapon to triumph over a warrior who has none.

Re-enactment 13

The battle starts with an Aztec Jaguar and Zande Warrior each making their way to the top of rocky hills. The Aztec Jaguar sets his maquahuitl by a rock, and then climbs to the top of the hill. The two warriors eye each other, waiting for the other to strike. The Zande Warrior yells out a battle cry which echoes throughout the area. This prompts the Aztec Jaguar to raise his Atlatl and Tlacochtli arrow. He hurls the tlacochtli, which sails across the air and barely misses the Zande Warrior. He tries again, and succeeds in hitting the Zande’s shield. The Zande Warrior removes the arrow from the shield and puts his Makrigga spear on the floor. He pulls out his Botto and Pima and climbs down the hill to run towards the Aztec Jaguar. The Jaguar sets up another Tlacochtli and throws it, missing the Zande Warrior again. He fires an arrow in retaliation and hits the Aztec Jaguar. The Aztec Jaguar sees the Zande Warrior rush towards him and pulls out the arrow from his cotton armor. He gets down from his hill and prepares his tematlatl. He swings it around and hurls a rock at the Zande Warrior, but misses him yet again. The Zande Warrior pulls out a Kpinga and throws it at the Aztec Jaguar. It strikes his leg and forces him to the ground. He gets up and begins to flee from the Zande. He runs behind a rock and picks up his maquahuitl. As the Zande Warrior catches up to him, the Aztec Jaguar swings the maquahuitl, cutting through the Zande’s shield like butter, which surprises the Zande. He swings again and knocks off the Zande Warrior’s headdress. He swings a third time, and slashes the chest. The Zande Warrior pulls out his Makraka and knocks the maquahuitl out of the Aztec’s hands. He swings the Makraka at him, but it gets lodged in the Aztec’s helmet. He struggles to free his weapon, but the Aztec Jaguar quickly reacts by slashing across the Zande’s hip with his Tecpatl knife. The Zande Warrior falls to the ground in pain and begins rolling down the hill. The Aztec Jaguar removes his helmet, picks up his Maquahuitl and begins chasing the Zande Warrior, who is now back on his feet. The Zande Warrior rushes back to the top of his hill and runs back to the makrigga spear he put down earlier with the Aztec in hot pursuit. The Aztec Warrior catches up and prepares to swing his maquahuitl, but the Zande Warrior quickly turns around and thrusts the makrigga into the Jaguar’s stomach. The Aztec stops in his tracks and begins spitting blood from his mouth. The Zande then pulls out the makrigga, yanking out a chunk of the Aztec’s innards. The Aztec falls back and off the hill, dropping into the field below. The Zande Warrior pumps his fists into the air, yelling in victory.

Winner: Zande Warrior.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 11 May 2010.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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