CURITIBA -- Renato Carneiro defeated Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision Saturday night at UFC 198, and he credit his opponent’s fans for the extra motivation he got leading up to the featherweight contest.
Carneiro, who was returning to action a year and a half after tapping Tom Niinimaki in his promotional debut, was attacked by hundreds of Russian fans on social media.
"I only have 1000 followers on Instagram, but I got 100 comments in Russian per day over the past month saying ‘Zubaira will kill you! Zubaira will kill you! Zubaira will kill you!’" Carneiro told the media after the win. "After that, Russians fans started fighting each other. One said Zubaira sucks, and then other said he’s the man. I turned off my Instagram and haven’t used it in a month. My friends, I’m not talking to anyone because I was sick and tired [laughs]."
Carneiro, who injured his knee and broke his hand twice since his UFC debut, deleted his Instagram account before UFC 198, but plans on making a special post for his Russian audience soon.
"I almost learned Russian," he said with a laugh. "I will post something there, say that he didn’t kill me, and that made me stronger. I’ll be better in my next fight."
Fighting out of Brasilia’s Constrictor Team, "Moicano" is open to training overseas before his next UFC fight, but won’t leave his team behind.
"Zubaira has more than 20 fights, was coming off three wins in the UFC. It was a tough fight for me, but I Iike challenges," Carneiro said. "I train in a small team. It’s full of talents, but we have no structure. Professional fighters also pay to train, like students. That’s where I come from and where I like to be. This energy will generate something way better. I’m thinking about travelling to learn more, but my team will always be Constrictor."