Ahead of their fights this Saturday, check out what those set to compete at UFC Fight Night 99 had to say during a press event earlier this week.
The card airs on FOX Sports 1 from Brazil, with Ryan Bader taking on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the main event.
Ryan Bader: “Our first fight happened six years ago and I feel that I have grown a lot as a fighter since then. The way that I win may be the same, but I want them to see that I improved a lot. I have fought in Brazil, I respect my opponent and the Brazilian fans. Energy is energy even if it is against me, I feel their passion and that motivates me.”
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: I started doing this sport when almost nobody knew it in Brazil and today I am headlining a card in the country. It’s a dream come true, without a doubt. This fight means a lot to me. Besides the rematch, it confirms the good moment I am in after knocking out (Pat) Cummins in Curitiba. Bader is a strategic guy, strong, likes to go to the ground, but I am conscious of everything that I need to do to take out his game.
Thomas Almeida: “I’m always going to be looking for the knockout, the same way that I do in every fight. It’s very good to fight at home, it’s extra fuel to get the job done well. I want to secure my place among the best in the division. I know that people talk, but there is no easy opponent in the UFC, everyone is good and every fight is different. The pressure will always be there, whether you are on a winning streak or coming off a loss.”
Albert Morales: Thomas is a strong fighter who will be fighting at home, with the whole crowd there to support him, but I like to feel pressured. My plan is to imagine that the cheers of the crowd are for me rather than for him. But the truth is that I feel that my moment is here and I can see myself submitting him. That is my goal.
Claudia Gadelha: I transformed myself into a new athlete, much more focused on what I need to do. The time I spent in the United States taught me the right way to train and I feel very good about my body and my health. Cortney is a very big and strong girl for the division and I believe that she will use that as an advantage over me. I can’t stop in front of her, I have to impose my game and that is what is going to happen. I can guarantee that it will be an MMA fight, everything will happen.
Cortney Casey: I am very excited about being in Brazil, the people here are amazing, and I can’t wait to have a big performance on Saturday. I hope for a good fight, very aggressive, where I intend on focusing on my wresting to win. Claudia Gadelha is number one in the division, she is a very good and strong fighter, but my idea is to keep my game plan and shock the world.
Warlley Alves: It may be a knockout, a submission, it doesn’t matter, I just want to leave with a win. Kamaru is a very tough athlete. He likes to fight moving forward and he is strong. In reality there is no weak fighter in the UFC. Both of us were on The Ultimate Fighter and won, so I believe that a win would make me the winner of his season. In all seriousness, this is a win that I want more for me personally than professional. I need this win.
Kamaru Usman: He is young and strong but I am sure that I have much more experience than him in this game. If he comes to fight the same way he came in for his last fights, I am sure that it won’t be a good day for him. I will stay loose, do my game and show the skills that people have not yet seen in the UFC.