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Markus Perez predicts spinning-elbow KO win at UFC Lincoln

Markus Perez tapped James Bochnovic to score his first UFC win in Brazil.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

To say Markus Perez has an unorthodox style is an understatement, and he plans on proving why at UFC Lincoln.

Fresh off an impressive first-round submission win over James Bochnovic at UFC 224 in Brazil, the former LFA middleweight champion returns with mean intentions against The Ultimate Fighter 23 winner Andrew Sanchez at Saturday’s UFC Lincoln show.

“I’ve envisioned this fight ending with the best knockout of the night,” Perez told MMA Fighting. “I’ll keep it standing … of course, every fight is different and I’ll go for a takedown if I’m in trouble, but I plan to keep it standing. I’ll test my boxing and throw some attacks I’ve trained for this fight [laughs].”

By some of the “attacks” he’s training, “Maluko,” which translates to “crazy” in Portuguese, means spinning strikes. With a spinning-elbow knockout win in his pre-UFC run, Perez plans to score his first one in the Octagon.

“Those are the ones that impress the fans,” Perez said. “The most effective strike in MMA is the elbow, in my opinion. If you can land them in any way … and a spinning elbow is even better. They see you spin and start to wonder what’s coming. It’s a problem for your opponent, and it’s fun for the fans, so it has it all.”

Sanchez beat Khalil Rountree to win TUF and went on to defeat Trevor Smith in his following bout, but lost back-to-back fights by knockout to Anthony Smith and Ryan Janes.

“He’s coming off two losses in the UFC, but he’s a good, well-rounded fighter who uses his boxing well and has great kicks, a good wrestling,” Perez said. “But he doesn’t have jiu-jitsu. That’s his flaw. He’s a talented guy, but unfortunately he’s standing between me and the belt.”

“I think I can finish him earlier,” he continued. “He comes out very aggressive in the first round, and so do I. We’ll both go for it and have decisive moments in the first round, but I really expect to finish him in the second round.”

Perez feels more comfortable now that he’s 1-1 in the UFC and coming off a win compared to when he fought in Rio de Janeiro following his debut loss to Eryk Anders, but the pressure is always there.

“We’re always under pressure, win or lose,” Perez said. “At least this time there’s a good vibe because I’m coming off a win and I’ll win again — and go for a bonus. I felt under pressure in Rio, I had that loss stuck in my throat because I knew (Anders) and I knew I would have beaten him if I had time to prepare for that fight. Not taking anything away from him, but it’s still stuck.”

“Maluko” wants to capture another belt in the United States just like he did at LFA, but still has a long way to go before he becomes a contender in the 185-pound division.

Avenging his decision loss to Anderson is a second goal in his mind.

“We always want another fight with someone we lost to in the past, and I would definitely like to rematch him down the line,” Perez said. “Yet, my focus is, above anything else, to win the middleweight belt.”

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