Felipe Arantes built a 3-3-1 record as a featherweight in the UFC until he finally decided to cut 10 more pounds before his fights.
The Chute Boxe fighter, who makes his bantamweight debut at Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night 74 against Yves Jabouin, had to change a few things in his training camp for his first fight at 135 pounds, and it wasn’t easy.
"My preparation was great. The only issue was my weight cut," Arantes told MMAFighting.com. "I didn’t do any diet before, since I dropped from 160 pounds to 145. It was easy, I cut that in a week, but now I had to do a restricted diet. That was the toughest part, but I already expected it."
"Sertanejo", who loves eating desserts, had to learn how to live without chocolate.
"Everything changed, man," he said. "I’m addicted to sweets, so that was the toughest thing to get rid of. It was complicated. I added some diet dessert, though."
At age 27, and competing outside of Brazil for the first time since signing with the UFC in 2011, Arantes explains why it took so long for him to cut down to 135 pounds and stop giving his opponents an advantage on fight night.
"Fighters who weight as much as I do usually fight at 135 pounds," he said. "I fought at 145 because I was too lazy and hated dieting. I wanted to eat, I didn’t want to suffer. I always fought at 145 or 155 pounds in Brazil. But it’s getting too competitive, so I decided to move down and fit in the right division. I always fought at 145 and weighed around 158 on fight night, while others were at 176."
However, timing might work against him this time. Cutting more weight for the first time in his career, Arantes won’t be able to do intravenous rehydration after October due to the IV ban from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and that might force him to change plans once again.
"I will do intravenous rehydration for this fight, and then we’ll do a test in the gym to see how I would be doing oral rehydration only," Arantes said. "If I can’t train the next day, it I can’t adapt, we’ll see what we do next, maybe go back to 145. A lot of fighters will have to move up in weight. I don’t know if banning intravenous rehydration is right, but we have to obey."
Putting his diet changes aside, Arantes feels excited to take on a fellow striker in Jabouin in Saskatoon. The Brazilian sees several holes in his opponent’s ground game, but doesn’t intend to exploit that.
"He’s a tough fighter, has good muay thai and wrestling," he said. "I don’t think his jiu-jitsu is that good, but he’s a complete fighter. I have to go there and do what I do best to win, which is stand and trade punches. If he takes me down, I’ll use my jiu-jitsu.
"I believe he will try to trade with me, but try to take me down after he gets hit. I worked on my wrestling and jiu-jitsu, so I will be ready wherever the fight goes."
Jabouin enters the cage coming off a first-round knockout loss to Arantes’ teammate Thomas Almeida, and the Chute Boxe talent expects to finish the fight as "Thominhas" did back in April.
"I want to knock him out," he said. "I expect this fight to be a war since he’s also coming off a loss, and he doesn’t want to lose. It won’t be easy, I expect a war, but I’m going there to knock him out."