Heavyweight Augusto Sakai may be fighting for his job at UFC Vegas 70. Already walking on thin ice, the Brazilian knows not many athletes have the chance to fight a fifth after losing four straight bouts in the Octagon. Paired up against Don’Tale Mayes for this weekend’s event, the Brazilian wants to show the promotion they made the right call by keeping him.
In an interview with Super Lutas, Sakai showed to be aware of the difficult situation he finds himself in ahead of the fight, but prefers not to pay it any mind. Instead, Augusto wants to overcome the bad phase and feels proud of what he was already able to achieve in his career.
“I’m relaxed. I know it’s a big weight on my shoulders, but I don’t care. I think that’s the best part of life, to able to write a new page every day. Everything I’ve been through was part of a learning process and now I’m ready to turn a new leaf. No matter the result, even though I’m confident I’ll get a win, I’ll be proud of what I’ve become after the things I’ve been through,”
“I’m grateful that the UFC kept me around after four losses,” Sakai said. “In other cases or other weight classes, they would’ve cut me. Lots of people ask why I’m still here after four losses. To be honest, if I owned the promotion, I wouldn’t fire someone like Sakai, either. I’m a guy who tries to promote the company the best way possible. I never turn down fights. I’ve accepted all the fights they offered me and they acknowledged that. I think that’s why they kept me,”
Paired up against a heavy-handed opponent, Sakai claims he will not shy away from a stand-up fight, being a kickboxer himself. Although he has trained plenty of grappling and takedowns at American Top Team, the Brazilian wants to add another knockout win to his record.
“Being at American Top Team, you can’t not train grappling, takedowns or jiu-jitsu. We always end practising that. I’ll look for the knockout. I’ll try to finish this fight as soon as possible. We trained everything, though. I’m ready to strike or to grapple, if necessary.”
Currently on a four-fight losing skid, Sakai (15-5-1) dropped losses to Sergey Spivak, Tai Tuivasa, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alistair Overeem in his most recent outings, all by way of knockout. The 31-year-old’s last win happened in May 2020, when he defeated Blagoy Ivanov by split decision.
Now, Sakai is expected to take on Mayes at UFC Vegas 70, on February 25. The UFC Apex card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between light heavyweights Ryan Spann and Nikita Krylov.
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