Wellington Turman had to make quite a switch after going from a cancelled preliminary bout with Rodolfo Vieira in January to a co-main event clash with Misha Cirkunov at Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 49 event, but counted on advice from a few notable teammates to prepare for the opportunity.
Turman spent three months preparing for jiu-jitsu wizard Vieira before his countryman pulled out, leading to the new matchup four weeks later in Las Vegas. Turman acknowledged to MMA Fighting that Vieira and Cirkunov are “very different” style-wise, but he said that working with UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and former two-division GLORY champion Alex Pereira has him ready for the challenge.
“Rodolfo has great jiu-jitsu, but Cirkunov also has some dangerous submissions, he does good jiu-jitsu,” Turman said. “He’s more complete [than Vieira] because he has good striking, too. We’re always ready for everything because we train with guys like [Pereira] and Glover, different styles. We can adapt well because we’re always ready for everything.”
Cirkunov actually fought Teixeira in 2017, losing by first-round TKO at UFC on FOX 26. Years have passed since that night, and Turman hopes to replicate the outcome on Saturday.
“We beat him once, we’ll beat him again,” Turman said with a laugh. “[Teixeira] has done the hard part, which is fight him there and knock him out nicely, so he gave me some tips, but that will stay off the record. You’ll know when the fight starts. He told me how the guy fights, and he knows it better than anyone.”
Coming off a decision victory over Sam Alvey, Turman predicts he’ll score his first finish under the UFC banner when he and Cirkunov finally collide.
“I envision myself [winning] like Glover won, because he used a takedown I like to use and ended up taking him down,” Turman said. “He ended up on top [position] and knocked him out, so I envision myself knocking him out with the ground-and-pound. We’ll do a similar game.”