Paiva was successful in his bantamweight debut with a majority decision victory at the UFC APEX after back-to-back wins as a flyweight. But he only recalled what went down in the opening round, when he almost got finished by “The Matrix,” after watching it later in his hotel room.
“To tell you the truth, of the first round, I remember being sitting down and looking at my corners and they looked worried, and then I saw Phillips hitting me,” Paiva said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I was like, ‘What, so the fight has began already?’ I grabbed his leg then, and I remember nothing from that point on. [I don’t remember that I] got back up and went for the fight with him. I don’t remember that. I only remember seeing him hit me and fighting back, and then I don’t remember anything.”
Paiva only recalls the second and third rounds, which he won on all judges’ scorecards despite being “like a zombie” in the opening frame.
“Before the knockdown, all I remember is ‘Pateta’ [jiu-jitsu coach Fabio Prado] telling me to move my head and be careful because he was trying to pressure me,” he said. “That’s it. I don’t remember anything else. I knew it would be a complicated fight. I knew it would be a war, but I didn’t imagine I would get beat like that in the first round.
“It was a crazy experience for me. I never got so tired in a fight like that, and never got knocked down before, but it was insane. It was awesome, too.”
Paiva’s cornermen Prado and Urijah Faber told him he had won the bout before the official result was read, and Sal D’Amato was the only judge to give Phillips a 10-8 in the first. The other two had it 10-9, making it 29-28 in favor of the Brazilian.
“I don’t think it was right [to make it a 10-8] because I was knocked down late in the first round and never stopped working,” Paiva said. “I kept moving and reacting. It’s a 10-8 when you get beat the entire round with no reaction.”
Paiva and Phillips were awarded with the “Fight of the Night” bonuses, and Paiva plans on investing a share of that money in his next camp with Team Alpha Male in California.
Prior to UFC Vegas 32, Paiva mentioned Raphael Assuncao as an ideal opponent next in case of a win, and doubled down on the callout afterwards. Assuncao initially took on social media to accept the challenge for November, but later changed his mind, wanting a “better name.”
“Raphael would be a good fight because he’s ranked higher than me, but you can give me someone unranked. I just want to fight and stay busy,” Paiva said. “But if Raphael thinks it’s not an interesting fight and the UFC still books it, I’ll show him it’s interesting [laughs]. I’ll fight whoever comes as if they were the champion.”