A former WEC chanmpion and star of Japan’s now-defunct Pride promotion, Paulo Filho will be back in action at the fifth First Class Fight event in Brazil this October 23. Across the cage from him will be Marco Antonio Pezão, in a light heavyweight matchup. Training in Rio with former UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante, Paulo Filho, who has only one loss on his record, foresees a tricky fight, but guarantees he is ready.
“He’s a great striker and I have a good ground game, but I hit hard, too,” he warns.
Check out the interview:
How has the final phase in training for FCF gone?
I trained a lot for this fight. I’d already been on a long stretch of hard training, all we did was tweak my training some. I have a few offers to fight in big events abroad, so I was keeping up the rhythm in training. Murilo Bustamante will be in my corner.
Whom have you been training with for this fight?
I have great training partners here in Niterói. Alexandre Bebezão and Felipe Mongo helped me a lot. I also am thankful to Baioneta, who’s a great friend and who helps me a lot. Unfortunately, Distak couldn’t coach me this time around. He has a lot of work to do; I’m rooting for him and for sure our bond is still strong.
How does the 93-kg (205 lbs) division feel to you?
I feel really good at this weight. Truth is, this is the weight I like fighting at the most. I have a knack for fighting big guys… This is my division.
What will it be like for you to fight in the city of São Paulo?
I’m a professional athletes, so I’m always looking for the best opportunities. For sure São Paulo, for being Brazil’s biggest center of commerce, has a great option, which is FCF. Organization and credibility count a lot, too. Roberto Godoi and Tiago Cruz are the event’s matchmakers, they’re great professionals. We have friends in common who put us in contact and made this fight in the city of São Paulo possible. The FCF values its athletes financially and that is vital for the event to be a success.
What’s your assessment of Pezão, your next opponent?
Like I said before and now repeat, I’m a professional and I don’t pick my opponents, unlike a lot of other guys out there. I watched some of Pezão’s fights. He’s a great striker and I have a good ground game, but I hit hard, too. Different opportunities always turn up in a fight and that’s what I’m prepared for. We have a strategy for the fight though. Should the chances not arise, I’m ready for anything.