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Guilherme Viana talks Bellator debut: ‘I want to walk through Francis Carmont’


Francis Carmont looks for redemption as he makes his Bellator debut on Friday night in Thackerville, Okla., but fellow promotional newcomer Guilherme Viana wants to ruin his comeback.

Viana, who makes his return to the cages after a nine-month layoff, meets the UFC veteran at tonight’s Bellator 135, and feels excited for the opportunity.

"I trained really, really hard. I’m pumped up for this fight," Viana told "I was surprised that they offered me this fight, to tell you the truth. He’s also making his Bellator debut, but he has a history in the sport, he has a name, so I was surprised and excited at the same time. Facing a veteran like him in my first fight is excellent. And the best part of it is that all the pressure is on him."

Viana trained with MMA legend Pedro Rizzo during most part of his MMA career, but went back to his hometown for this camp.

"I started my camp with Pedro Rizzo in Rio de Janeiro, but decided to go to Porto Alegre to train with my brother and all the team that trained me when I was starting my career," he said. "Having my family around me helped me a lot as well. I don’t have the same quality of training that I would have in Rio, but I had a great team to help me there."

Carmont, a training partner of former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre at Tristar Gym, had a great start in the UFC, winning his first six fights inside the Octagon. However, things changed as he moved up the rankings in the middleweight division.

Carmont was cut from the promotion following losses to Ronaldo Souza, C.B. Dollaway and Thales Leites, but Viana doesn’t see him as an easy win.

"I watched all of his fights. I have to be smart," he said. "He lost to three tough guys. It’s not like he lost to three average Joes. I already expected him to lose to ‘Jacare’ and Thales, they are way better than Carmont, and every detail makes the difference at this level.

"He’s a well-rounded fighter. I have to pay attention to his kicks, and he has a great wrestling too. He trains with George St-Pierre, the best in this area. I won’t talk too much about my strategy here or I will give him my entire gameplan [laughs], but he’s tough and I’m ready to fight in all areas."

Viana also had the opportunity to be in the UFC in 2014, but he came up short. After trying out for the third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Viana was selected to be on the reality show. However, he was finished by season winner Antonio Carlos Junior in the preliminary fight.

"I’m happy because this is a real opportunity," Viana said. "In the Ultimate Fighter, I was fighting for an opportunity that could change my life, but I unfortunately lost. I didn’t prepare the way I had for that fight, and I learned a lot with that. You learn a lot with the losses, and I will use that experience to stay calm and focused for this fight. That was a big opportunity, but so is this one, and I won’t put any pressure over me."

Impressive victories over big names means a lot in the new era of Bellator controlled by Scott Coker, and Viana knows that a finish against Carmont could push him close to a shot at the light heavyweight gold.

"A win over a guy like him helps me build my name in the promotion, no doubt about it. But I can’t think about anything else besides this fight," he said. "The rest is just consequence and will come with the win. I’m just worried about fighting a good fight. I don’t focus on the title or anything else. I focus on this fight. I want to walk through Francis Carmont and earn my spot there.

"I will go for the finish all the time," he continued. "One thing I learned with my brother and Glover (Teixeira) is that you have to go for the finish all the time so you don’t depend on the judges. I imagine myself winning this fight before the third round."

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