Klidson Abreu wants to keep the momentum going in his UFC debut.
Unbeaten in almost three years, over which time he amassed the Brave CF light heavyweight title and a couple of impressive finishes in Russia, the Brazilian talent makes his Octagon debut on Saturday against Magomed Ankalaev at UFC Prague.
Abreu made headlines in 2018 after tapping Russian veteran Viktor Nemkov in enemy territory in July. Four months later, he returned to Russia to submit Anton Vyazigin in a heavyweight bout at M-1 Challenge. He knew the wins would inch him closer to a deal with the UFC, but he wasn’t expecting to sign one so quickly.
”I knew it was close because I was on a great winning streak, but I didn’t expect it to be this fast,” Abreu told MMA Fighting. “I thought that winning the M-1 belt would get me here, but I’m ready now. I beat two good opponents in Russia, the last one a heavyweight, 45 pounds heavier than me, and that was my ticket to the UFC. After working hard for eight years, the big day is coming.”
Abreu says he’s open to competing at both heavyweight and light heavyweight inside the Octagon. In fact, he also holds a submission victory over rising 205-pound sensation Johnny Walker in a 2015 heavyweight bout in Brazil.
At UFC Prague, Abreu will have another Russian opponent across the cage. Three of Abreu’s last six opponents were Russians, and they all lost by submission. After so many impressive stoppages, the Brazilian was given a nickname in his native country, “Russian Terror.”
Abreu doesn’t have an official nickname in MMA yet outside of “Urso Branco” (White Bear), which is what his father calls him, so “Russian Terror” might become the official one soon.
”They are sending another Russian now, so let’s turn the ‘Russian Terror’ nickname official,” Abreu said with a laugh. “It’s gonna be 4-0 for Brazil.
”That nickname is good. I like it,” he continued. “‘Russian Terror,’ maybe that catches on after another win over them. Keep bringing the Russians if they want. We have the antidote to the Russians.”
Ankalaev has only lost once in 11 professional bouts, a late submission to Paul Craig in his Octagon debut. For Abreu, who trains under Muay Thai expert Andre Dida at Curitiba’s Evolucao Thai gym, getting the fight the ground will be the best way to win at UFC Prague.
”He’s a brawler, but he has a flaw in his jiu-jitsu and that’s where I come from,” Abreu said. “I think it’s going to be a good fight and I’m very confident, well-trained. I want to put on a show for the fans and get a win in my UFC debut.
”He dominated the fight (against Craig) but was submitted in the final second, so we can see that his jiu-jitsu is not that good. But I also work hard on my striking with master Andre Dida. I’m a complete fighter. Wherever we go, I’m ready. I’ll dictate the pace of the fight.”
Abreu vows to move up the ladder step by step in the UFC, but already envisions a rematch with Johnny Walker down the line. After submitting him almost four years ago, the former Brave CF champion wouldn’t be surprised if they meet again, this time for a belt in the UFC.
”It was a good fight,” Abreu said of his 2015 win over Walker. “I was able to take his back and get a rear-naked choke in the second round. Johnny is a fun guy and having success in the UFC. Who knows, maybe I’ll have the honor of fighting him again one day.”