Jimy Hettes was supposed to fight Diego Brandao in January, but fell ill while getting his hands wrapped on fight night. The UFC rebooked the fight for Saturday night’s card in Newark, and Brandao hopes he can make it to the Octagon this time.
Brandao vs. Hettes is set for the preliminary card of UFC on FOX 15, and the Brazilian featherweight is confident on the win.
"I met him at the elevator Tuesday and I don’t know… I really hope this fight happens [laughs]," Brandao told MMAFighting.com. "I looked at my manager and said ‘he came here to get beat up’. Hettes didn’t even look at me. I don’t know if he’s embarrassed about the last time or if he’s scared because I’m ugly."
Having his match-up with Hettes cancelled on fight day wasn’t Brandao’s first weird experience in the UFC, though. Ten months earlier, Will Chope was cut from the UFC hours before a fight with Brandao in Natal, and he couldn’t believe it was happening all over again.
"That happened with me in Natal, and when it happened again I thought it was a prank," "Ceara" said. "I had my hands wrapped, 20 minutes to go, and they told me the fight was off. I only believed it was real when the members of the commission left the room."
"With everything that happened last time, I’m really anxious to fight," he continued. "I did two training camps for this fight so I’m more than ready to put on a show Saturday."
Brandao looks to get back to the win column after having his three-fight winning streak snapped by Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, and believes Hettes will break on Saturday.
"I will put some pressure over him. I will throw everything I got," he said. "I’m ready for a 15-minute fight. The victory will be mine."
Hettes is 3-2 in the UFC, and enters the bout coming off a third-round knockout loss to Dennis Bermudez. Brandao, who tapped Bermudez in 2011 to win the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, compares his opponent to Nick Diaz, but sees himself as the PRIDE version of Wanderlei Silva.
"He’s an excellent fighter, but I’m a bad match-up for him," Brandao said. "I’m more explosive, he’s more patient. I will try to do his thing, the way Nick Diaz fights, but I will go like a mad dog, Wanderlei Silva PRIDE style. I don’t underestimate him, but I’m going to win. And I expect to win in the first round."