For FloCombat via A.G Fight
Eight months after debuting in the UFC, Paulo Borrachinha is set to showcase his skills on the biggest stage in all of combat sports.
This Saturday, the Brazilian knockout striker will face former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks to kick off UFC 217’s PPV main card at New York City's historic Madison Square Garden — an opportunity that comes on the heels of Borrachinha buzzing through Brazil's middleweight landscape and his first two UFC opponents.
Competing under the brightest of lights might be intimidating to some, but the 26-year-old prospect let it be known the massive stage won’t faze him.
"I think I'm well trained for what [Hendricks] is going to try to do," Borrachinha said. “I think he's going to want to take the fight to the mat or stay on the fence to clinch. I came to the U.S. three weeks early to train for this. He’ll not be able to take me down, and if it does end up on the ground, I'll get up fast.
"The fight will remain where I want it to be, which is standing up in order to score the knockout. Stylistically, I think I have all the advantages. I'm bigger, stronger, younger, and I have more potential to end this fight faster."
Borrachinha put in a lot of effort to get matched up with an established opponent following his knockout over Oluwale Bamgbose in June. And while a bout with fellow Brazilian striker and MMA legend Vitor Belfort was rumored for a few weeks, the pairing ultimately fell through.
Having been turned down by potential opponents in the UFC before, Borrachinha knows a win over Hendricks this weekend might not be all that positive for his career.
"On the side of me getting better known, [an impressive victory] should get me bigger names from now on," he said. "But on the other hand, [potential opponents] will recognize that I’m a more complete fighter and they might not want to fight me then.”