Junior Albini’s UFC debut wasn’t the sort you see day-after-day.
Albini was in no way well-known when he stepped contained in the octagon to satisfy Timothy Johnson at UFC on FOX 25 in July. That wasn’t the case when he left, although, after scoring a first-round knockout over the veteran. The show was spectacular sufficient, with the 26-year-old heavyweight’s quickness and accuracy standing out in a division not identified for these qualities.
But the Brazilian made certain to steal the highlight afterward, as properly, as he spoke in fluent English about simply how a lot of a wrestle was behind his statement-making show. To prime all of it off, Albini’s first combat on U.S. soil got here with a $50,000 bonus for “Performance of the Night.”
As Albini prepares to make his octagon comeback at this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 120, it’s secure to say much more folks might be paying consideration. Not to say that, as he goes up towards a heavyweight legend in Andrei Arlovski, Albini walks within the favourite.
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Albini is conscious of the added stakes. But in comparison with his first combat expertise, he has no causes to complain.
“I take it as positive pressure,” Albini advised MMAjunkie. “I imagine I skilled even higher than for the opposite combat. I’m higher ready bodily. It’s my second day (within the U.S.), and I’m feeling so much higher than I did the primary time. My journey was a lot better.
“The flight was empty this time – which was an issue final time. I’m type of mbadive, it’s laborious for me to sleep on planes. Last combat, on Friday I nonetheless felt my legs heavy. I used to be feeling drained. This time, I’m 100 %. I’m very relaxed and extra badured.
“Also, the first thing I felt last time is that, magnitude of the promotion aside, it’s like any other fight. It’s like any other fight or even sparring at the gym. The fighting bit is the same. The only thing that changes is the venue. So I’m very relaxed for this one, for sure.”
Albini (14-2 MMA, 1-Zero UFC) meets Arlovski (25-15 MMA, 14-9 UFC) within the FS1-televised fundamental card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 120, which takes place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va.
Other than the fight-week specifics, there’s additionally been fairly the shift within the lead-up to it. The expression “life changing” will get thrown round so much in sports activities, however contemplating Albini is somebody who spent 4 years preventing for nearly no pay, the addition of UFC-level cash provides it new that means.
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First, there’s the coaching.
“Before, for most of my fights I had to buy my plane tickets, spend money on gas and food, on the hotel,” Albini stated. “I had all these further considerations about that. Now I received to focus solely on the combat. I used to be in a position to make investments so much in myself. I introduced in a brand new boxing teacher to badist.
“And it doesn’t just affect me. A lot of my training partners live off fighting, as well, but need to get other jobs , oo. I was able to pay them, too, so they could put in some more time to work with me.”
And that’s simply on the sensible facet of issues for Albini – who, by the way in which, hasn’t even touched his bonus cash but. Emotionally, too, the heavyweight will get to reap the large advantages of a brand new life.
“Right now, I can go out with my daughter,” Albini stated. “I can get her anything she wants. We can go out the whole weekend, and I can treat her to whatever she wants. For me, it’s the greatest pleasure I have in my life right now: to provide my daughter with everything that she wants.”
The half the place folks ship him messages and discuss him on-line, Albini says, is taking some getting used to. And he’ll additionally admit that he wasn’t precisely anticipating his second UFC combat to come back proper earlier than the co-main occasion in a card that features potential barnburners like John Dodson vs. Marlon Moraes and Clay Guida vs. Joe Lauzon.
Overall, although, he’s taking the oddity of his new standing in stride.
“I try to put that in the back of my mind and focus solely on the fight,” Albini stated. “But I didn’t count on it to occur like this. And, because the combat comes shut, the amount will get turned up even louder. So it’s been bizarre. But I’ve been in a position to take care of it.
“I’ve been able to stay calm, focusing more on my training and on the people who are here with me.”
If in a approach it’s been considerably of an in a single day shift in Albini’s circumstances, in others it’s been a lifetime within the making. Getting this far, in any case, concerned quite a lot of sacrifice. But even via the tough instances, the heavyweight says he at all times knew issues would find yourself falling into place.
“I’m just relieved it’s really happening,” Albini stated. “I don’t even suppose it took to lengthy. I feel it’s the best time. I imagine it occurred at a time after I’m prepared. Even when issues had been laborious, when cash was brief and I went with out quite a lot of issues, I feel it made me develop as an individual.
“And I think that, with everything I went through, I came into the UFC a fully prepared athlete.”
Hearing all of this, it’s simple to see why Albini isn’t notably fazed by the considered dealing with somebody like Arlovski so rapidly. As it seems, Albini has not solely been following his opponent’s profession since earlier than he started his personal, he’s drawn inspiration from Arlovki’s “clbady and composed” model to bademble his personal expertise.
“He has a different style than most of the heavyweights, so I have always enjoyed him,” Albini stated.
But the enjoyment and honor of badembly one in every of his private idols ends the second Albini’s personal mission begins.
“I won’t let the weight of his name affect me,” Albini stated. “There are many big, tough names in the UFC. So I need to see him as if he’s anyone else.”
There’s added weight in Arlovski’s case: his present skid. While he advised MMAjunkie that he nonetheless sees himself preventing for a couple of years, a sixth consecutive loss might definitely carry some implications at the least so far as Arlovski’s octagon profession goes.
Still, Albini can’t afford the luxurious of worrying about that.
“I’m looking for a knockout, for sure,” Albini stated. “(The bonus) wouldn’t be bad. But I’m definitely going to look for a knockout.”
To hear extra from Albini, take a look at the video above.
And for extra on UFC Fight Night 120, take a look at the UFC Rumors part of the positioning.