BRASILIA, Brazil — Francisco Trinaldo vows not to disappoint his family and friends when he enters the Octagon for a record 16th time in Brazilian soil against John Makdessi in his adopted hometown of Brasilia on Saturday night.
“Massaranduba” was born in a small town called Amarante in 1978, but he made Brasilia his home. That’s where he kicked off his MMA career in 2006, racking up a 10-1 record before being a member of the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” in 2012.
Eight years have passed, and Trinaldo is considered the “old guy” on his team, Evolução Thai. He remains one of only fighters from that season that is still on the UFC’s roster. He was part of the promotion’s previous trips to Brasilia, defeating Leandro Silva and Paul Felder at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. This time, Canadian lightweight John Makdessi will be the one across the cage.
“I’ll always like any fight they put in front of me,” Trinaldo told MMA Fighting. “It’s always a good fight. He’s also a striker and I like that, so that’s great news for the fans. Two strikers. I wanna do what I like the most, which is brawling. I’ll trade hands with this guy on March 14.”
Makdessi only fought once a year since 2017, scoring decision victories over Abel Trujillo, Ross Pearson and Jesus Pinedo. Seven years his elder, “Massaranduba” predicts an action-packed striking bout that eventually ends with a knockout, promising to make up for his close decision win over Bobby Green in November.
“He’ll try to keep it on the feet and counter, which is his style,” Trinaldo said. “I’ll do what I do best, which is put pressure and throw hands, kicks, knees. A Muay Thai fight with MMA gloves.
“I’ll go for the knockout at all times. Bobby Green, I got nervous early in that fight and took him down, and I spent too much energy in the first round. But I’m sure it will be different now. I’ll be more focused. I’m fighting at home, right? I’ll fight with this guy for real and put on a show that fans want, a brawl.
“I promise I won’t let anyone down. It’s gonna be real hard to beat me in there. I won’t let them down. I’m hungry to fight, man.”
At age 41, bouncing between wins and losses since the end of a seven-fight streak courtesy of Kevin Lee in 2017, Trinaldo sees Saturday as a turning point in his career.
“I’ll show everyone I still have a lot in me, and Brasilia will be the start of a new run,” Trinaldo said. “I’m going there for the knockout. I’ll be focused the entire time. I know he’s no fool, I know he’s a striker, a stand-up fighter, but I’ll break his game right away.”