Almost a year after his UFC debut, Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes will be stepping in the Octagon again. After undergoing knee surgery and intense physical therapy, he is recovered and ready to get into the action. The BJJ black-belt will make his second UFC appearance Jan. 15 vs. Frankie Saenz in the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 103 in Phoenix, Arizona.
“For my first fight in the UFC,” the bantamweight recalls, “I got in last-minute to replace John Lineker, who had gotten injured. I had a week to drop weight and develop a strategy to face a dangerous guy, who currently owns the belt [Cody Garbrandt]. Due to this, I believe Sunday’s fight will be my true debut, and I have in my BJJ the main weapon to get my arm raised.”
With optimal preparation time for the fight, Tanquinho has had time to analyze his foe’s game. At six professional MMA bouts, with five wins, the 33-year-old Brazilian will be pitted against an experienced 36-year-old. Saenz is coming off two losses, making a win that much more critical to both of them.
“Frankie Saenz is a dangerous, tough guy who will be a big test for me,” Tanquinho says. “He’s fought names like Urijah Faber, Eddie Wineland, Iuri Marajó, so I think he is very experienced in his career. It will be a very interesting fight. We will have a conflict of styles in the Octagon. He is a wrestler, but one who likes striking. I believe will not go to the ground with me, but that is what I want to do in this fight. It will be a good spectacle for the fans.”
UFC Fight Night 103 will see BJ Penn returning against Yair Rodríguez.
UFC Fight Night 103
Phoenix, Arizona (USA)
Yair Rodríguez vs. BJ Penn
Joe Lauzon vs. Marcin Held
Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders
John Moraga vs. Sergio Pettis
Frankie Saenz vs. Augusto Tanquinho
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Viktor Pesta
Tony Martin vs. Alex White
Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose
Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Nina Ansaroff
Walt Harris vs. Chase Sherman
Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Joachim Christensen
Dmitry Smolyakov vs. Cyril Asker