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Carlos Felipe respects Andrei Arlovski but says ‘it’s my time’ at UFC Vegas 40: ‘They booked the worst possible fight for him’

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Carlos Felipe enters UFC Vegas 40 on a three-fight winning streak.
Zuffa LLC

Carlos Felipe enters the biggest fight of his life this Saturday night in Las Vegas, battling former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 40, and calls himself “the worst possible fight” for “The Pitbull.”

Arlovski has been in and out of the UFC since 2000, sharing the cage with the who’s who of the heavyweight division for decades. He’s had a rough patch between 2016 and 2019, but has put a stop to the rise of several up-and-comers over the past few years.

“Boi” signed with the UFC as an undefeated 8-0 heavyweight but stumbled in his debut, losing a majority decision to Sergey Spivak in July 2020. The outspoken fighter rebounded with a trio of decision wins over Yorgan De Castro, Justin Tafa and Jake Collier, landing him a “big” fight with Arlovski.

“It took me time to realize I got this fight because Arlovski is very experienced, has more than 50 fights,” Felipe said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I’ve heard of him, he was already a champion back when I didn’t even imagine fighting. I have respect [for him], but it’s my moment, it’s my time.

“They booked the worst possible fight for him because we’re going opposite directions. I’m going uphill and he’s going downhill, so it won’t end well for him.”

Felipe is surprised that Arlovski agreed to this matchup “because people were tagging him on Instagram and he replied with an ironic comment, ‘Who’s Carlos Felipe? I have no f*cking idea’, but I knew he wouldn’t have any other option if the UFC wanted to book this fight.

“I wasn’t [bothered by his comment] because that’s exactly the type of answer I would have given, too [laughs]. I can’t be a hypocrite. I thought it was f*cking funny [laughs]. People made memes of it. [He asks] ‘Who’s Carlos Felipe?’ and signs the contract a week later.”

The Brazilian heavyweight would love to add another knockout loss to Arlovski’s MMA record come Saturday night, but would enjoy going three rounds to prove a point — and “slug it out the way I’ve always done, the way I love.”

“Everybody knows I’m a guy that walks forward the entire time,” he said. “I impose my rhythm as time goes by. My last three opponents were strikers and all of a sudden they wanted to take me down, they became grapplers. They all got to the end of the second round running on low while I was putting pressure. He’ll gas when I get to 6,000rpm, he won’t handle it. His body will ask for another gear up and he’ll have nothing left, and that’s when he’ll get desperate.”

Felipe sees this co-main event bout as a “career-defining” moment for him in MMA, changing the way fans see him oversees.

“I know many gringos are a bit salty, saying I’m winning robberies, so it’s time to shut them all up,” Felipe said. “I think I need a win over a big name so they finally realize I’m kicking down the door, that’s I’m not just another one here.”

“Boi,” which means ox in Portuguese, has done some changes in his camp for UFC Vegas 40, saying he’s leaner than before. He hasn’t done it motivated by comments about his “chubby” looks, though.

“I don’t care about it,” Felipe said. “Some people joke about it, ‘Oh, now I can say I look like a fighter.’ I’ve been bullied since I was four because I was fat. It has gotten to a point that really I don’t care. In fact, I like it. Arlovski is the type of fighter I enjoy beating, those shredded guys and whatnot. I’ve been fighting my fellow chubbies as of late. The shredded ones will go down the same way when my hand lands.

“I like to represent the chubbies. In fact, about time they booked me against someone who isn’t a chubby. The last three were against my fellow chubbies and I was looking forward to beating a shredded guy now.”