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Brandon Royval details “frustrating” end to 2022, expects to face Matheus Nicolau next: “It would be an interesting style to fight”

Brandon Royval has had a rough ending to 2022.

Royval kicked off the year in January with a decision win over Rogerio Bontorin and then submitted Matt Schnell in May. He was then booked to face Askar Askarov in October but the Russian botched his weight cut and the fight was off.

After that fight went away, Royval agreed to step up on short notice against Amir Albazi at UFC Vegas 66. However, during training camp, ‘Raw Dawg’ suffered a broken wrist that forced him to pull out of the bout.

“The past couple of months have been super frustrating. I just wanted to end the year with a fight,” Royval said to BJPENN.com. “It was like Amir Albazi, the fight with what I wanted to accomplish this year and the projection and the way I wanted to go wasn’t really the direction I wanted to go anyways. It was just that I liked the matchup and I think Amir Albazi is sweet and a good fighter. I thought he would be able to push the best out of me. But, that entire camp was disastrous. I have scars on my face, I got split open a few times. I basically spent the entire camp just working around different injuries.

“Then, I was actually at an LFA card and my wrist was hurting really bad and it was deformed and purple,” Royval continued. “But, I have a lot of tattoos where I broke my wrist. I talked to the doctor and she said I either have a really bad staph infection or my wrist is broken… The Amir Albazi fight made zero sense to go out there without a training camp and not really gain anything or then a pay cheque. Like I beat Amir Albazi, my ranking isn’t going to go up.”

With Royval now cleared to fight, he hopes he can return in the first quarter of 2023. Yet, with the way the flyweight division has been booked, Royval believes he will likely have to fight someone ranked behind him once again.

“I don’t know how I’m going to move up, I think I’m going to have to fight someone behind me. I’m kind of over that too,” Royval explained. “My last three fights have been people ranked below me. Then I have the Askarov opportunity and that doesn’t go through.”

With Brandon Royval thinking he will have to fight below him, he expects to be offered Matheus Nicolau soon. It is a fight he likes as he thinks he can beat the Brazilian, but also isn’t certain what a win does for him.

“I assume that will get offered to me pretty soon. I haven’t had that offered to me yet. But, I assume that is what will be offered to me,” Royval said. “If they don’t offer me him I will be interested in fighting the loser of the title fight. Matheus Nicolau has done a really good job in his last two fights, but I just keep fighting guys below me. I want to fight someone ranked above me. But, the Nicolau fight does interest me because it would be an interesting style to fight.”

Ultimately, the goal for Royval is to fight for the belt in 2023. But, he isn’t sure if a win over Nicolau does that.

“The ideal year is I take out whoever is next and get a title shot off of that. That is really what I want. I want my next fight to get me a title shot, I don’t know if that’s possible. That is what freaks me out about the Nicolau fight as if I take him out, it keeps me in the same spot,” Royval concluded.

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This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM