Mario Bautista couldn’t be happier with his win over Benito Lopez at UFC Vegas 64.
Bautista was set to face the returning Lopez who hadn’t fought since 2019 and the goal for Bautista was to put him away early. He wanted to prove he is a lot better than Lopez and he did just that as he scored a first-round submission win.
“I’m super happy about it. I went in there trying to get a first-round finish,” Bautista said to BJPENN.com. “Of course, I was ready for three rounds. But, I wanted to get him out of there quickly and prove I’m a few steps above him and ready for that next step up.”
Not only did Bautista get the win, but he also got a Performance Bonus and capped off a 3-0 year. The goal for him was to fight three or four times and go undefeated and get him back in the conversation of being a darkhorse of the bantamweight division.
“This year has been awesome,” Bautista said. “There have been big gaps between fights ever since I got to the UFC for a variety of reasons. So, after my last loss I told myself I wanted to have three or four fights. I knew I needed to get some momentum going and believe I did just that.”
The goal now for Mario Bautista is to return sometime in early 2023 and hopes to fight a ranked opponent next. Yet, if he doesn’t get a ranked opponent the hope is to get someone right near the ranks.
“I’m hoping it gets me near the rankings,” Bautista said. “I’ve been asking for someone in the top 15. I hope I get someone ranked or just outside the rankings to earn a spot in the rankings. It’s really whoever they give me, I have confidence in my skills to beat whoever they give me.”
Who would you like to see Mario Bautista to fight next?