At UFC Fortaleza, the main and co-main events will feature fights between two Brazilians. However, the main event spot between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes is a rematch of fight at UFC 212 in 2017.
Since then, Assuncao has gone 2-0 and is most likely the number one contender given Dominick Cruz is hurt and Cody Garbrandt has already lost twice to TJ Dillashaw.
With that, it was interesting to see Assuncao take a fight against Moraes, instead of waiting for the title shot. However, after seeing what happened to Colby Covington, he knew he needed to fight.
“It is just a fight that the UFC wanted to make happen. We tried so hard to get the title shot,” Assuncao said to BJPENN.com. “Really, the guys could win a fight and jump ahead of me. So we decided to take a fight, instead of sitting around and waiting.”
Now that the fight is just days away, Assuncao is ready for the rematch. He won the first fight by decision. However, even though he already beat Moraes once, he knows it will be a tough fight again.
“We both have improved as athletes. We both have had some good wins since then,” he said. “But, I’ve been spending a lot of time improving my overall game. I think it will be a different fight, and we are both coming in hungry. It definitely will be a different fight, but I see myself getting my hand raised and getting myself another win. That is all I’m focused on.
“I’m looking for a win. I’m looking for a good fight, a high-level fight,” Assuncao continued. “He wants his rematch, he wanted a title shot first of all but he is more than happy with a rematch. I am the guy who has beaten him and I’m looking for a rematch against Dillashaw. It makes for it an exciting fight and an exciting main event. “
Although Assuncao didn’t get the title shot, he did get the main event spot. That was crucial to him in the negotiations. He wanted to be the main event in Brazil, as he gets to show the world he can go five rounds if the fight does indeed go the distance.
“I mean, I always train for more than the three rounds anyways,” he said. “It will not be an issue anyways in regards to cardio. We always push above our limits. It will just give me the experience of a title fight, and experience and being the main fight. And, a fight that is being talked about of being the number one contender fight.”
There is no doubt in Assuncao’s mind that the winner of this fight gets the title shot. He isn’t worried about Dillashaw vs Henry Cejudo 2 at all. Rather, he is focusing on himself and getting his hand raised.
“A win gets me a title shot,” he said.
“I’m very confident. I bring the experience and confidence, and my opponent is going to bring a lot of confidence as well,” Assuncao continued. “I feel good though, man. Just everything is falling into place so I feel good about it. Just watching my weight, so I’m ready to go on February 2.”
Now, it is all about the weight cut. Assuncao knows he will make weight, but getting down to 135 is easier said than done. Know for sure, Assuncao is ready for this fight and knows he will win the rematch like he won the first fight.
“I’m ready now. The body, the mind, everything is ready to go, it is all on auto-pilot now,” he concluded. “I see it being sort of similar, but with more action. It will be an exciting fight.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/29/2019.