UFC will make it’s first visit in Chile on May 19 with a loaded six-fight main card as former middleweight and welterweight title challenger and #5 ranked welterweight contender Demian Maia takes on #7 ranked Kamaru ‘the Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman.
The main card kicks off with a strikers delight as two upcoming prospects Vicente Luque (12-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and Chad Laprise slog it out. All the five victories of Luque’s UFC career have been finishes. Laprise on thenother hand is on a three fight knockout streak. Luque who was born in Westwood, New Jersey and is fighting out if Brasilia, Brazil, Chile would still be a homecoming of sorts for Luque.
“My father is Chilean. I have my grandmother, uncles and cousins living in Chile right now, so it’s definitely like fighting at home for me,” said Luque (via ufc.com). It’s going to be a real special moment for me, fighting on the first UFC card in Chile, and having roots there, it’s going to be awesome.”
Luque would definitely have the support of the Santiago crowd however it’s still an away territory which Luque has to travel to. Luque said that he is accustomed to travelling once fight week begins.
“I’ve lived this before and it has been a great experience for me,” said Luque. “There are some things, like people trying to get more in touch, but that’s totally controllable, and the motivation I get for training from fighting at home, that’s unique. I’ve had a lot of motivation throughout this camp and I feel like it makes me train harder and be much more ready when I get there than I otherwise would be.”
Luque then explained how he sees his fight against Laprise and reflects back at his career until now.
“The big thing is I wanted to fight in Chile, so the opponent wasn’t so important to me,” said Luque. “Chad is a great opponent – he’s coming in with three wins, three knockouts, and he’s a great striker that pushes forward.
“That’s a great style for me because I’m a striker as well and I also like to push forward, so I think it’s a fight that makes sense. It’s a great matchup for the fans and it’s going to be a great fight between us. I can imagine a real war. I believe it’s going to be a fight that fans remember.”
“I feel really good about how my career has gone,” he said, reflecting on a career that started almost nine years ago. “I’m after that title. I want to be the champion. I want to be in the Top 15 first, get to the Top 10, then the Top 5, fight for the championship, win the championship and keep it for a long time.
“I see it as a process. Now I’m fighting these guys that are tough guys; they’re not Top 15, but I’m not in a rush. I’ll take my time, do what I’ve got to do. I know I’ve got to go in there and win and win in impressive ways, finishing my opponents, and that’s what I’m doing. I’ve worked hard for that and I see the results as recognition for my efforts, but it also makes me hungry to keep pushing forward.”
“I fight forward. I don’t hold back. It’s not that I’m looking for the finishes, but my style is to press forward and hit the guy as hard as I can.
“If I see a choke, I will go for it. If I see a knockout, I will go for it. I’m always pressing forward and the finishes happen naturally when I’m fighting like that.”