Close to the belt, Matheus Nicolau evaluates fight at UFC Las Vegas 91 and deadline for title challenge

Protagonist in this weekend's event, Brazilian analyzes future in flyweight and challenge against Alex Perez

Matheus Nicolau is the protagonist in UFC Las Vegas 91. Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

Back in the octagon after almost a year of inactivity, Matheus Nicolau he could take an important step towards his dream title fight in the flyweight class (up to 56,7kg), if he wins this Saturday (27). Protagonist of UFC Las Vegas 91, the Brazilian spoke exclusively to SUPER FIGHTS about the challenge facing Alex Perez and set a deadline to fight for the title.

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Number five in the category ranking led by the champion Alexandre pantoja, Nicolau will face a different opponent than the one initially desired by Ultimate. Perez replaced the injured Manel kape and seeks to return to the top 5 of the division.

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Evolution as an athlete

At 31 years old, Matheus explained how he understands the dynamics of a professional athlete. Understanding the evolution of the sport, the Minas Gerais native described how he combines 'grit and career plan'.

“MMA has evolved a lot, everywhere. There's the weight loss part, physical preparation. You have to do adequate physical preparation, with a good periodization, to be ready for a certain date. (…) The physiological part, having a good diet. Everything has to be done in balance. I really believe in balance. Not just in fighting, but in life. There is science, in terms of fighting strategy. You need to study your opponent, know their strengths and weaknesses. The points where your weapons fit with his. You have to be trained and connected with your team. I'm a lucky guy, since the beginning of my career, I've met good people, who put me on the right path. More experienced people who always brought new things to me. It's not just going there and 'fighting'. You have to have a job. (…) Of course, the 'brabeza'. There are times when the strategy isn't working, you have to turn it into a fight (laughs)”, said Nicolau.

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Opponent analysis

Despite the opponent scheduled with around a month to go, UFC Las Vegas 91, Matheus guarantees he is prepared to overcome Alex Perez. The athlete then points out the opponent’s difficulties and qualities.

“He is experienced and knows how to behave inside the Octagon. He knows how to fight with the 'regulations under his arm'. It's complete. Dangerous in striking, he has a basis in wrestling. (…) The main thing is not to let him enjoy the fight. The main thing is for me to 'play the music'. Command the actions, don't leave him at ease. Take the reins and, then, victory will come into our hands. It's a fight that, most likely, will happen anything. There will be grappling, clinch, striking. It’s going to be a technical fight, very good for the public,” he said.

Belt visible

Even with defeat against Brandon royval In his last appearance, Nicolau has managed a solid trajectory since his return to the UFC in 2021. In the flyweight elite, he evaluates his chances of challenging for the title in the future.

"Possibly. Even more so the way the category is. Kind of scratched. The guys above were hurt, not very active. Brandon Moreno want some time. Brandon royval got hurt against Moreno. The important thing is to win well, and doors will open”, he concluded.

Athletes' retrospective

In his second stint in the UFC, Matheus has four wins in five fights. Throughout his career in professional MMA, the Minas Gerais native has 19 wins, one draw and three defeats.

Former flyweight belt challenger, Alex Perez lives in a dramatic situation. With 24 triumphs and eight setbacks in his career, the fighter is trying to end a series of three consecutive stumbles.

UFC Las Vegas 91 technical sheet

Order date: April 27th 2024

Open Hours: From 17pm (Brasília time)

Location: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

How to watch: SUPER FIGHTS LIVE In real time, UFC Fight Pass (the entire card) online.

MAIN CARD (20 p.m. Brasília time)

Flyweight (up to 56,7 kg): Matheus Nicolau x Alex Perez

Light heavyweight (up to 93 kg): Ryan spann x Bogdan Guskov

Flyweight (up to 56,7 kg): Ariane da Silva x Karina Silva

Heavy weight (up to 120,2 kg): austen lane x Jonathan Diniz

Featherweight (up to 65,7 kg): Jonathan Pearce x david onama

Welterweight (up to 77,1 kg): Tim means x Uros Medic

PRELIMINARY CARD (17 p.m. Brasília time)

Bantam weight (up to 61,2 kg): Rani Yaya x Victor Henry

Light weight (up to 70,3 kg): Austin Hubbard x Michal Figlak

Heavyweight (up to 120,2 kg): Don'Tale Mayes x Caio Machado

Straw weight (up to 52,1 kg): Marnic Mann x Ketlen Hot

Light weight (up to 70,3 kg): James Llontop x Chris Padilla

Flyweight (up to 56,7 kg): Ivana Petrovic x Na Liang

Light weight (up to 70,3 kg): Gabriel benitez x Maheshate Hayisaer

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