JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil -- Entering the Octagon after a loss for the first time since January 2012, Felipe Arantes knew he had to deliver.
"Sertanejo" was on the last fight of his contract with the UFC, and he needed to get back in the win column when he took on Maximo Blanco at UFC Fight Night 36 on Saturday night.
"It was the last fight on my contract, so I had to be aggressive all the time," Arantes told the media after the unanimous decision victory. "Everybody knows that we’re under pressure every time we step inside the Octagon. If you can’t handle the pressure, you can’t stay in the UFC.
"Thanks God I won the fight, and I hope to sign a new contract to stay in the UFC now."
A Sengoku and Strikeforce veteran, Blanco was 1-2 under the UFC banner, but Arantes expected a tough battle.
"It was an honor to fight him," he said. "I proved to myself that I was ready. I expected him to be the toughest fight of my career. He’s a well-rounded fighter, fought some of the best in the world, but I was ready for him. He has a good wrestling, so I changed my strategy in the middle of the fight and got the win."
"Sertanejo" wanted the finish, but was happy with the decision win after suffering a kick to the groin in the third round.
"Unfortunately, I couldn’t do more in the third round because of that low blow," he said. "I’m still in pain, man. I thought I’d lose my private parts (laughs). I think I’ll feel it for a week, but thank God I won the fight."
Arantes is 3-2-1 inside the Octagon with all of his fights being contested in Brazil, and he’s not interested in fighting anywhere else.
"I want to keep fighting here," he said. "I love Brazil, I love to have the fans around me. It’s not like it used to be anymore. We don’t need to fight outside of Brazil to get better opportunities in our careers. A lot of top fighters are coming to fight in Brazil, so I prefer to keep fighting here."