New York’s own Julio Arce will make the walk to the Octagon for the third time at UFC 230 as he takes on Brazil’s Sheymon Moraes.
For Julio Arce, getting a chance to fight at Madison Square Garden is a dream come true. The 28-year-old Tiger Schulmann product has been here before, albeit under different circumstances.
“I’m super excited I get to compete in the Garden,” said Arce when asked about his upcoming UFC 230 bout. “This helps me complete my trifecta of doing boxing, kickboxing, and now MMA with the biggest promotion at the Garden.”
Having an opportunity to fight at the most famous combat sports venue in the world is something special. For Arce, however, getting an opportunity to compete at MSG in his third different combat discipline is unreal.
“There are butterflies, and there’s some excitement,” Arce said when asked about nerves heading into UFC 230. “Mostly excitement though, because I don’t think there are many people that can say they did all three.” Arce explained, “2011 Golden Gloves, I fought with Glory kickboxing, and now I get to do MMA with the biggest promotion out there. I got to do all these things under the brightest lights possible with the UFC. It’s really unbelievable.”
At 15-2 Arce is something of a darkhorse in the featherweight division. As it stands, his only two defeats have come at the hands of fellow UFC fighter Brian Kelleher. As a matter of fact, Kelleher is fighting at UFC 230. But Arce has no interest in the evening the score with Kelleher. He believes their careers are on two very different trajectories.
“We’re on two different paths,” Arce said when asked about a third fight with Kelleher. “He’s a bantamweight, and I’m a featherweight fighter now, plus those [fights] were learning experiences for me. Those were also my last two fights at 135 [pounds].”
Arce is a featherweight fighter now, and he will have his hands full at UFC 230 when he meets Team Nogueira’s Moraes. But don’t think Arce won’t be prepared for war come November 3.
“I’ve watched some videos on him,” admitted Arce when asked about his preparation for Moraes. “His two losses are to two very tough opponents. He is going to bring it. He has very good Muay Tai, and he has some powerful kicks. It’s going to be a physical chess match out there for sure.”
UFC 230 is just days away, and featuring Daniel Cormier defending the UFC heavyweight title against Derrick Lewis in the main event. As it is scheduled now, Arce and Moraes will fight on the FS1 prelim portion of the fight card.