“Sertanejo” will enter the Octagon for the first time in 2018 looking to score his first victory in almost two years and bounce back from decision losses to Erik Perez and Josh Emmett, and having the support of his wife and his two-year-old son Theo means everything for him.
A loss to Song at Saturday’s event could mean the end of Arantes’ run inside the Octagon, but not having to worry much about the income he earns through fighting has actually helped him focus only on getting the job done inside the cage.
”Thank God I have my life structured now,” Arantes told MMA Fighting. “I have my gym with more than 1,000 students, I have two places for rent with my wife, and she works as well, so the UFC doesn’t bring more pressure in that sense.”
Arantes said his life has “changed for the better in a way that only a father can explain.”
“My day off is with my family now,” Arantes explained. “After I’m done training or on the weekends, the best thing I can do is do something with them. When I’m with them, I’m having the best moments of my day.
”I don’t feel under pressure. I’m in the UFC since 2011, it’s my 12th UFC fight. I fight for myself, for my team, for my family and for my fans, and I’m happy to have everyone’s support.”
Arantes vs. Song was originally announced as a featherweight bout, but both “Sertanejo” and the UFC told MMA Fighting that it will actually be contested at bantamweight. The Brazilian has bounced between 135 and 145 pounds throughout his UFC run, but now returns to bantamweight following his loss to Emmett in October.
”I’ve fought as a featherweight for a long time but was always one of the smallest,” Arantes explained. “In my fight against Emmett, I was coming up from 135 and he was coming down from 155, we went to war and the size difference was clear. He was 13 pounds heavier than me, and that made me rethink it and go back to 135.
”Cutting weight is always the worst part, but every fighter does it,” he continued. “If you don’t, it happens, what happened in my last fight. The size difference is huge. I feel I’m at their size at 135. I’ve fought at 155 in the past in Brazil, before joining the UFC, but every detail is important in the UFC, so we have to see what’s best.”
Song finished Bharat Khandare in a featherweight bout in his UFC debut in November, and has fought most of his career at 145 and 155 pounds in the Asian circuit. Yet, Arantes wasn’t familiar with his work when offered the fight.
“I didn’t know him, but then we studied his fights after we signed it,” said Arantes. “He’s a great striker, a young and hungry kid. He’s really strong in the grappling area, but his striking is what caught my attention.”
”No one likes to lose,” Arantes said. “Unfortunately, I’m coming off two bad results. I disagree with the result in Mexico [vs. Perez], but my job is to go on to the next one and not complain. I’ll impose my game in this fight and fight hard, no matter the result.
”I’ve trained hard in all areas, standing and on the ground. I can’t say exactly how I will beat him, but I see myself finishing him.”