Iuri Alcantara is ranked number eight in the UFC bantamweight division, but decided to get out of the comfort zone.
After winning 32 of 38 MMA fights, "Marajo" decided to leave Para, Brazil, to learn new techniques in a different gym, and he followed his brother Ildemar Alcantara to Greg Jackson’s team in Albuquerque.
"I had good training partners in Brazil, but my brother needed more sparrings, so he decided to go there to train," Alcantara told MMAFighting.com. "I decided to follow him to get out of the comfort zone, breathe new airs and train something different. I’m more focused here. It’s only training and training for me here, so I know I will fight better."
Ildemar Alcantara defeated Richardson Moreira via unanimous decision at UFC 183, and now it’s time for the older brother to enter the Octagon against Frankie Saenz at UFC Fight Night 61 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Feb. 22.
"I was amazed with the level of training I had there," "Marajo" said of Jackson’s gym in Albuquerque. "The coaches also do a great job, so I have to thank every single one of them. My camp was great, and I will be a different fighter on Feb. 22.
"My goal is to evolve as a fighter and come up with better strategies, know what my opponents do better and counter," he continued. "My goal is to win and move up the rankings, maybe fight a top 5 next. I left my family and friends to come here, and I will do my best for them.
"After this fight, we will come back to Albuquerque. They gave us a great opportunity to be part of the family. We rent an apartment and stayed there for two months, and then we moved to an accommodation inside the gym. Living in an apartment was too expensive, and they offered us this place at the gym, so it’s even better now because we can focus only in fighting."
Alcantara felt the need to work on his wrestling after struggling against grapplers in his past few fights, and expects Saenz to go for takedowns at UFN 61.
"He likes to wrestle, and I had issues with that in my last fights. But I got better in the wrestling area. It’s going to be completely different now," "Marajo" said. "He will try to wrestle me, but I know how to defend myself. I’m trained to stop his takedowns and also to take him down. I’m getting better. I can surprise him, too. I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I know it’s going to be a tough fight, a war, but I will beat him."
Coming off three consecutive wins, including a 25-second knockout over Vaughan Lee, the 34-year old bantamweight wants to put an end on Saenz’s five fight winning streak with a finish.
"I’m always ready for everything, to submit him or knock him out, but my goal is to go there and finish him standing," he said. "I’m ready to go there and knock him out."