Most of the TUF: Brazil competitors made their Octagon debuts on Brazilian soil, but that won’t be the case for Luiz Dutra.
Forced out of TUF: Brazil 2 reality show with a broken hand, Dutra (11-2-1) is set to meet fellow UFC newcomer Kiichi Kunimoto (15-5-2, 1 no-contest) at UFC Fight Night 34 on Jan. 4 in Singapore. Dutra, whose pair of professional losses came because of injuries, feels ready to shine inside the cage.
"I was anxious for this opportunity," Dutra said. "I was expecting to fight in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil (UFC Fight Night 36), but my coach Marcio Cromado called me saying that they changed my fight to the Singapore card. I’m feeling great, training hard since I healed my hand, so I believe it’s the right time to fight. I’m still poor, so I can’t choose much on where or when I’m fighting."
"Besouro" got the call to replace Kunimoto’s original opponent, Hyun Gyu Lim, who replaced injured Jake Ellenberger in the main event against Tarec Saffiedine. Kunimoto has eight submission victories under his belt, and the Brazilian is aware of his skills.
"I already knew him before, I know his background is the ground game," he said. "I believe he will try to fight me standing before he goes for a takedown. He doesn’t have a good boxing, it’s not taller than me, so I think it’s a good fight for me. I want to be the first luta livre fighter to win in the UFC."
Dutra fought most of his career at the welterweight division, including his couple bouts at TUF: Brazil 2, but plans a drop to the lightweight class for his next fights inside the Octagon.
"This is my last fight at 170," he said. "I’ll move down to 155 next year, and I believe I’ll be stronger in this division.
"But, for now, I plan to do the best fight of the night and start my career in the UFC the best way possible. That’s how I plan to thank them for putting me on the main card."