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Bruno Silva Fears No Challenge

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“We have different styles, but I’m confident that I’ll shut him down.”

With Meerschaert’s grappling-heavy style and Silva’s desire to earn his fourth UFC knockout, things will definitely be interesting when the two are finally locked in the Octagon on Saturday. In theory, Silva expects Meerschaert to try to grab a hold of him, and that’s when he will thwart takedown attempts and find success in the standup game.

SAN DIEGO PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEWS: Marlon Vera | Dominick Cruz

“I think this is a fight where he will want to grab me and I will want to beat him up on the feet,” Silva laughed. “I can’t see a different fight. He’s going to want to put me down and I’m going to want to beat him up.”

If all goes according to plan for Silva, he will leave San Diego 4-1 in the UFC with four knockout wins. That would set him up perfectly for a big fight to end 2022. And while Silva hopes to secure fights against opponents in the Top 15, he isn’t concerned with what’s next.

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He knows he’s going to reach the top, no matter what.

“A river is made by many water paths and the destination is always the same,” Silva said. “One day or another I will reach the belt. It may be next year, ten or thirty years from now. I will get there, and the title will go to my small town.”

Gerald Meerschaert Wants To Be Dominant

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“It’s just different when you hear that collective roar of everybody in an actual stadium; it just really amps you up,” Meerschaert said.

“GM3” was riding a three-fight win streak prior to his loss against Jotko, and it’s something that he wants to get back to, starting with his bout against Silva, who is also coming off a loss, his against middleweight contender Alex Pereira.

View Meerschaert’s Athlete Profile

The bout between these two fighters should bring some fireworks. Combined, the two have 56 victories and 51 of those wins have come by finish. Meerschaert has 26 wins by submission and six knockouts. On the other hand, Silva accounts for 19 wins by knockout and three by submission. It will be interesting to see where they end up, as both fighters have the “no judges needed” mindset and are always looking to finish their opponent.

“He is kind of like me, just on the other end of the spectrum,” Meerschaert said. “He is known for his knockouts, he has power in his hands, but he does everything well. He has really good grappling, and he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu. If you’ve seen him in any of his UFC fights, if anyone tries to grapple heavy with him, he is always right there with them.

MORE UFC SAN DIEGO: Fighters On The Rise | Preview Every Fight | Main Event Preview | Loopy Godinez | Angela Hill | Nate Landwehr

“He is making them work even if he gets taken down – he is either right back up or he is defending well enough that he is never really in danger. I make my money choking people, but I always do really well on the feet, no matter if the guy is supposed to be one of the best strikers or whatever the case is, so I think we are kind of opposite ends of the spectrum and it’s going to make for a great fight.”

Nate Landwehr Is Going Full Steam Ahead

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As he approaches a matchup with David Onama at UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz, Landwehr cautiously relishes getting to San Diego and participating in the various fight week activities. Over the last two-and-a-half years, Landwehr was booked for nine different matchups with only four coming to fruition for one reason or another, which means nine training camps for, hopefully, five UFC contests come August 13.

“I’m just excited to make it to fight week,” Landwehr told UFC.com. “I’ve been to fight week before with Movsar (Evloev), and he fell off the day of with COVID, so it’s been crazy.”

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Calling back to his scheduled bout with the undefeated Evloev back in December 2020, Landwehr might have some hesitancy about getting too excited before he makes the walk. That said, when he gets there, he can’t wait to soak it all in before he fights.

Landwehr hasn’t fought in front of a proper arena crowd since his debut against Herbert Burns, and that fight was the first on the card. A natural showman and entertainer who would rather lose an all-action war than win a snoozer, Landwehr actually downplays his excitement about the environment. Instead, he’s just eager to put all his hard work to use and get into a fist fight.

“Fans, no fans, in a ring, in a phone booth, in the backyard, we’re scheduled to fight,” he said. “We said we’re going to fight each other, and that’s what’s going to happen.”

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Despite his general bad luck regarding fights coming to fruition, Landwehr turned in his best performance in a crucial fight against Ludovit Klein in October 2021. In the third round, Landwehr locked in an anaconda choke and picked up the first submission victory of his professional career and first UFC finish overall.

Normally more of a knockout artist (eight of his 15 wins came via knockout), Landwehr said he didn’t feel that adrenaline rush he expects to feel when he ends a fight early, but in his own words: “The name of the game is win and move on.”

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Part of what contributed to his unexpected finish is the move he made to MMA Masters in Miami, Florida, ahead of that contest. Landwehr continued training there ahead of this fight against Onama, and it’s a change from which the always-confident Tennessee-native gains assuredness.

“I think it was a good fit,” Landwehr said. “I think the best part of being down there is I’m alone. I miss everything I’ve been sacrificing to win these fights for, and the sacrifice is what you’re going out to fight for.”

Of course, Landwehr isn’t turning into a submission ace any time soon. It’s not in his nature, and he’s anticipating a firefight against Onama, who is coming off back-to-back finishes himself.

SAN DIEGO PRE-FIGHT INTERVIEWS: Marlon Vera | Dominick Cruz

Although Landwehr says he takes everyone seriously, he also expects Onama to “be there when I swing,” and so that knockout shot should come with that connection. Regardless if Landwehr is as clairvoyant as he believes, “The Train” is chomping at the bit to fight and fight at the highest level. With the monkey off his back of getting his first UFC finish, Landwehr is going into Pechanga Arena full speed ahead.

“I think I’ve always known that I’m a bad man. We’re going to see that Saturday night. It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster, but I’m back on the winning ways, and I’m going to stick to that Saturday night.”

Angela Hill Wants To Be A Finisher

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Last time out, Godinez produced a dominant, grappling-heavy performance in a unanimous decision victory over Ariane Carnelossi. With that in mind, Hill, who most recently lost to grappling-specialist Virna Jandiroba in May, is keen on showing an improved ground game in Pechanga Arena. Beyond fighting earlier than planned and in her adopted hometown of San Diego, the test comes right when Hill felt like she started to figure some stuff out defensively.

View Hill’s Athlete Profile

“We’ve just been grinding on getting up from bottom,” Hill said. “It’s something I haven’t had to worry about in my last fights. I was usually able to scramble and do things on bottom and get back to my feet when I needed to, but in my Virna fight, I got really stuck, so ever since that, we came back and were working right away. I learned a bunch of new little tricks, a bunch of new little things to go to, and once that started working, I was like, ‘OK, cool. I got this.’ They kind of called right when I was having those light bulbs and realizing I was really ready for this type of fight.”

Although Hill lost five of her last six, it’s important to point out three of those losses (to Amanda Lemos, Claudia Gadelha, Michelle Waterson), all came via split decision, the latter two decisions viewed somewhat debatably.

That said, a loss on the record is still a loss, and just because people around the sport or fans online argue against the judges’ scorecards on Hill’s behalf, it doesn’t take the pain out of the result.

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“It stings in a different way,” Hill said. “It’s hard to accept but, at the same time, it makes me work harder to get those finishes. If I hadn’t had those split decisions, then when it counted, like if I were to fight Rose (Namajunas) or Carla (Esparza), and that was a split decision, I’d be a lot more heartbroken than if I’m fighting some girl who is ranked around the same number as me but is not really worth anything but a win bonus. It’s making me work through those things and get closer to being a finisher, so I won’t have to rely on that in the future.”

Jason Witt Is Searching For Consistency

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“I just came back one day to get some extracurricular training outside of Glory, and I was presented with it and I was very surprised, but it was probably the best surprise I ever had in my life,” Witt said. “It validates that, hey, I’m not just a lunatic out here wrestling sweaty men for no reason. (Laughs) There’s levels to it and there’s reasons why we do the things we love to do.”

One thing Witt loves more than anything else is getting into a fight, and that’s how he’s made his name through five trips to the Octagon. Sometimes that’s been a good thing; sometimes it hasn’t been. So while he’s established his grappling bonafides, don’t expect him to be looking for flying armbars this weekend.

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“I like fighting,” he admits. “I like grappling because nobody can hit me most times at that point, but I like hitting people. I don’t like when I get hit, but I like hitting people.”

So in other words, business as usual this weekend in San Diego?

View Witt’s Athlete Profile

“I’m the same old, same old,” Witt said. “I know what I’m good at and I stick to that. I’m good at grappling, good at wrestling and I’m good at putting people in positions that make them work harder than I’m working. I don’t want to work hard, that sounds like no fun at all. (Laughs) But I’ve definitely worked pretty hard on what I’ve been doing, and I know it’s cliché to say because I say it every time, but I’m fine-tuning the details. I know how to fight, I know what to do, I’m getting better in certain aspects, and it’s hard to understand that you’re getting better, but you have to look at the small details of what you’re getting better at. It’s not like you’re making huge strides 15 years later; you’re making small little details that add up over time, and that’s where I’m at.”

He’s in a lot different place in his career than Quinlan is. The Hawaii native is making his UFC debut in his seventh pro fight, a time Witt remembers well in his own career. Well, maybe not so well.

Azamat Murzakanov Is Starting His Rise

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“Of course, one of my main goals is to give the excitement and mostly not to disappoint my fans, my coaches, my teammates, everyone who supports me,” Murzakanov said. “And, of course, going along with that, it doesn’t hurt to be undefeated, and I’m going to try and stay undefeated.”

That starts with delivering another good performance this weekend against Clark, an opponent that Murzakanov doesn’t fear in the slightest. To back up his words, he almost finds it necessary to get the job done inside 15 minutes.

“It’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen but I will try my best to finish [the fight],” Murzakanov said.

Main Event Preview | UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

A win can bring him one step closer to being in the light heavyweight rankings, a ladder that he hopes to climb all the way to the top by the end of his career. The quickest way to get in that Top 15 is to fight and win as often as his body allows it, and it seems that as long as his opponents don’t back out of their scheduled bouts, fans will be seeing a lot more from Murzakanov in the near future.

“It would be excellent to get closer to the rankings and to have at least another fight by the end of the year and try to climb up the ranks,” Murzakanov said.

“I don’t want to be like a gatekeeper. I don’t want to be one of those guys, like my opponent, for example, to win some and lose some. I don’t want to be like that. I want to go to the top.”

Updates To UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

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UFC Announces Updates To UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: VERA vs CRUZ Updates

Please note the following changes:

  • Due to COVID-19 protocols with Aspen Ladd, her women’s bantamweight bout against Sara McMann has been rescheduled to UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Yadong on September 17.
  • Due to injury with Alexa Grasso, her women’s flyweight bout against Viviane Araujo has been rescheduled to UFC Fight Night on October 15. 
  • Due to injury, Malcolm Gordon has been removed from his flyweight bout against Allan Nascimento. As a result, this bout has been cancelled from the event.
  • Ariane Lipski will face Priscila Cachoeira after being moved from UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill
  • A 180-pound catchweight bout between Jason Witt and Josh Quinlan has been added to the card.

Don’t Miss A Moment Of UFC Fight Night: Vera vs Cruz, Live From Pechanga Arena In San Diego, California Prelims Begin at 4pm ET/1pm PT, While The Main Card Kicks Off at 7pm ET/4pm PT.



Loopy Godinez Is Keeping Her Feet To The Ground

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“I said, ‘I’m in, I’ll do it. Just let me talk to my team, but yeah, let’s do it.’ The only thing I said was no way I’m going to 115 because I’m not about to kill myself in a week and do a big weight cut. I said let’s do it at 125, and she said 120, and I said, okay, that’s fine.”

That’s Loopy in a nutshell. She said yes to the fight and just added that she would talk to her team as a courtesy to them. She was fighting, no question about it. She laughs, in good spirits early on fight week, which is usually a stressful time, but not for her.

“Oh yeah, I’m eating all the PI meals that they’re giving me and I ask for extra sometimes because I like to feel good,” said Godinez, who has embraced the lifestyle of a full-time UFC fighter.

“It’s amazing. I get to train full-time, I don’t work anymore, my job is training, I’ve met so many people and got to go to different places. It’s been a dream come true.”

View Godinez’s Athlete Profile

Guess she’s planning on sticking around for a while.

“Oh yeah, I’m here for the long run,” she laughs, secure in the reality that she’s gone from unknown fighter slugging it out on the regional circuit to a competitor some have called the female Donald Cerrone. That’s high praise, and she’s enjoying the ride, in and out of the Octagon.

David Onama: Short-Notice King

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“I’m always ready, and I’m always watching my weight,” Onama said. “I try to stay ready just in case I get a call from the UFC. I’m always training, I’m always in the gym. I’m ready for every opportunity I can get.”

After defeating Garrett Armfield at UFC Vegas 58, Onama immediately jumped at the opportunity to fight Nate Landwehr in San Diego on three weeks’ notice. The two were supposed to square off at UFC Columbus in March, but Landwehr was forced to pull out of the bout.

“I like the matchup, it’s a great fight for me,” Onama said. “We picked the fight because we know we can beat the kid. When I got the call, I already knew about the kid, we studied him already. He’s just another victim.”

Onama is not just blindly taking fights and jumping at whatever Octagon opportunity prevents itself to him, and he remains extremely strategic when it comes to accepting bouts.

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“We don’t take the fights just to take the fights; we take smart fights,” Onama said.

A student under UFC veteran James Krause, Onama credits a strong support system for ensuring that he is always in fighting shape and ready to sign a bout agreement at any time.

“For you to take those short notice fights, James has to make sure you’re in the gym, constantly training,” Onama said. “If not, then you’re not taking those fights. That’s why I’m the one always taking those short notice fights because I’m always in the gym.”

In 2022, many up and coming MMA prospects find their way to the UFC through the Contender Series, a structure that gives fighters months to train for their ticket to the big show, but Onama’s journey was just the opposite.

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He was booked to fight in the Contender Series but had his bout cancelled after visa issues with his opponent. Then, during a vacation in Tuscaloosa, Onama got a call to fight tough lightweight Mason Jones on just four days’ notice.

“The Mason Jones fight was a good opportunity for me, and I took it,” Onama said. “Instead of going to the Contender Series and fighting for a contract, I was going to get a contract, win or lose. I’m proud I took it because it brought me to where I am now.”

Ahead of making his UFC debut, Onama was an undefeated prospect coming out of James Krause’s FAC.

“I had plenty of fights and it was a good experience for me,” Onama said. “Each fight they gave me, I got better and better, and I got to the point where I could compete in the UFC.”

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Onama has done more than just compete in the UFC, as he touts a 2-1 record in the promotion with both wins coming via finishes. He looks to ride the hot streak when he fights Nate Landwehr at UFC San Diego this weekend.

“I’m going to go in there and have fun and give the fans what they want to see,” Onama said. “I’m exciting; everybody wants to watch me fight. I’m going to go in there and have fun and get the job done.”

Lukasz Brzeski’s Moment Is Finally Here

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“Finally, everything went okay,” Brzeski said of the contest. “I won the fight and got the contract, but the stress and emotions were unimaginable.”

But not everything went okay.

The Polish fighter tested positive for a banned substance in his post-fight drug screening, resulting in Brzeski incurring a fine, a nine-month suspension, and his victory being ruled a no contest, but the UFC hopeful was only focused on one thing.

“I was really sad when my win was overturned, but there really was only one concern: do I stay in the UFC?” said Brzeski, who maintained his place on the roster and makes his promotional debut this weekend against fellow DWCS alum Martin Buday. “Since USADA tested me many times after the fight, the biggest MMA organization in the world didn’t fire me.”

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Given an additional several months to sit on the sidelines before finally getting to make the walk to the Octagon for the first time, Brzeski did exactly what you would hope someone with aspirations of breaking into the rankings and beyond would do: he trained like a mad man, supplementing his work at home with trips to various different outposts.

A quick comb through his Instagram not only showcases multiple images from his usual surrounds, but also time spent with recent DWCS winner Anton Turkalj, former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, and various other cross training trips, all designed to make Brzeski better as he readies to step in against Buday on Saturday.

“During my suspension, I was training harder then ever because I knew that from now on, I will face the best fighters in the world.

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“Usually I train in NKSW Nowy Targ, but to be the best, you have to train with the best; that’s why I travel a lot,” continued the 30-year-old, who carries an 8-1-1 record with one no contest. “This time, I was in Sweden at GBG in Goteborg, and I’m also very often in Rzeszów and train with Szymon Bajor, who is one of the best heavyweights in Poland.”

After a tricky road to the UFC APEX last fall and a longer-than-desired wait to make his promotional debut, Brzeski is finally on the precipice of donning his fight kit and marching out to the Octagon for the first time.

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