Guido Cannetti hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to his professional fighting career, but according to the Argentinean, those days are now behind him.
The bantamweight fighter was first introduced onto the UFC scene back in 2014. Cannetti was chosen to participate in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America as part of Fabricio Werdum’s team.
During his TUF stint, Cannetti was paired with Marco Beltran in the opening round of the tournament. The fight with Beltran was the first of a series of unfortunate events that plagued Cannetti’s career for several years.
“The Ultimate Fighter was terrible for me,” Cannetti told MMA Fighting. “I thought I was going to win it and I lost it due to things that they did to me in there. I was robbed in the fight with Beltran.”
Cannetti was deducted a point during the Beltran fight for throwing an illegal head kick while Beltran was downed. The fight ended in a split decision loss for Cannetti, but many thought Cannetti dominated both rounds and should’ve walked away with the win even with the point deduction.
Cannetti was given a second chance when Marlon Vera was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness. He replaced Vera to fight Alejandro Perez, who went on to win the TUF: Latin America season, but that also didn’t go as planned.
“With ‘Diablito’ (now known as ‘Turbo’), I was given very little time so I had to cut eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) and I didn’t have the knowledge on how to rehydrate myself without using an IV too well, so I went in there in terrible shape,” Cannetti said. “I felt horrible. I went out there like a crazy to kill because I knew that I had beaten him up in a lot of the training [sessions], so I ended up getting knocked out.”
From there, Cannetti fought fellow TUF: Latin America contestant Henry Briones at UFC 180. Cannetti dominated most of the fight, but ended getting caught with an uppercut and submitted with a rear-naked choke.
“I fought Henry, and I beat him up the whole fight, but he was able to connect and I got caught due to my craziness. I was still crazy.
“Then with Hugo Viana, that’s when I was beginning to improve my fighting style and I was realizing that I needed to change some things. I managed to win and that’s when I had begun making changes.”
For the Viana fight, which took place in Brazil at UFC 190, Cannetti decided to do some of his training outside of Argentina, and went to California to refine his skills with Team Alpha Male. It was noticeable in his performance at UFC 190, where he got a decision win against the Brazilian.
With a world class team and a UFC win under his belt, things appeared to be getting better for Cannetti, but that didn’t last long:
“Then the doping thing came, which was at my best moment, and then again, almost two years and a half without fighting.”
Cannetti tested positive for four banned substances in a USADA test in October 2016, and was pulled from his heated rematch with Beltran at The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale. Cannetti had to go to great lengths to prove his innocence and show USADA the banned substances had come from a tainted supplement in Argentina, for which he is now suing the supplement company.
Without the ability to make a living for over two years, Cannetti went through a very rough time and financial difficulties.
He returned to the Octagon earlier this year in January and was submitted by Kyung Ho Kang with just seven seconds left on the clock in round one. Like many of his other performances, Cannetti was winning the fight before getting caught.
“I returned and I fought the Korean Kyung Ho Kang and I was doing an excellent fight,” Cannetti explained. “I was doing everything that I had been training, everything that I had been working on, and it was all going perfect and then I put myself in a triangle by being too rushed, too anxious, and impulsive. But even though I lost, I knew that I had done well, I knew I just had to control my temper.”
With his back against the wall, and a UFC record of 1-2, Cannetti entered the Octagon once again at UFC Chile in May in a likely do-or-die contest with Chile’s own Diego Rivas. He was able to defeat Rivas via decision. Cannetti believes that win could be a turning point in his career.
“This is a stage where things are just starting to work out for me, because I had a lot of bad moments,” Cannetti said. “After winning, you obviously feel much better and even more if you fought like you wanted in your last two performances, so I think the good part is coming.
“I think in Chile I started the stage of my career where thing are going to go well for me. I already went through all the obstacles that I needed to go through, the prisons. Now it’s the time to enjoy everything, to have fun with it, to do what I love, and to realize the moment that I’m living and relax and enjoy and delight every day that I train.”
Cannetti considers the announced UFC Argentina card in Buenos Aires for Nov. 17 to be part of the new chapter of his MMA career. Being one of the most recognized fighters to come out of Argentina, it would mean the world for Cannetti to be able to compete under the UFC lights in his home country.
“That would be spectacular,” Cannetti said. “It would be a dream come true. That the UFC came to Argentina for the first time and that I got the chance to fight on that event, it would be something incredible.
“Even though Santiago Ponzinibbio is Argentinian, he lives in the United States and prior to that he was living in Brazil, so he hasn’t lived in the country in a very long time. I’ve been living all the time in this country and I’m not going to leave because I love it here, and that makes a very important difference when it comes to people feeling represented by you and that people have the chance to see you or go train with you here at the gym, so that makes a lot of people in Argentina to want to see me.
“Every time that I would fight here in Argentina, I would close the night for the most part or I would be the second to last fight and all the people would come to watch me and it would be a crazy, crazy show. So imagine now being in the UFC. That place is going to blow up. I’ve never lost in Argentina, and I’m never going to lose.”
At 38 years of age, Cannetti understands he doesn’t have a lot of time left in the sport, but he does feel to be both physically and mentally in the best shape of his career. Fighting in Argentina would be a significant milestone for him, but Cannetti has higher aspirations in the sport than just fighting in his home country.
“I don’t think it will end there, but it is a very important part that I want to live through,” Cannetti said. “I do want to get much higher, and this is the moment to see if I can achieve that or not.”