Vicente Luque was willing to fight just about anyone when original opponent Neil Magny fell through ahead of UFC Rochester.
Rochester, NY — Over and over throughout fight week for UFC Rochester, Vicente Luque repeated one line: he was happy just to stay on the card. When his co-main event slot fell through after Neil Magny was pulled from the event, Luque was the odd man out at the Fight Night show. Luckily, LFA veteran Derrick Krantz stepped up.
While the promotion no longer saw the fight as worthy of being the co-feature, at least Luque was still getting the payday. And the opportunity to remind fans of his talents. Krantz, meanwhile, came out guns blazing in his short notice debut.
Not totally unexpected by Luque, who told reporters including Cageside Press post-fight that Krantz’s fast start was anticipated. “He’s an aggressive guy. I watched him on tape so I knew he was going to come in wild.”
However, Luque did admit that his opponent “did surprise me coming in in the first few seconds of the fight with a big overhand and shooting for my legs. I tried to get that guillotine, it didn’t work out, he got me down and got my back.”
There was no moment of panic, however. “While he was on my back, I didn’t feel in danger. He was doing good. He had the two hooks in, he was trying to stretch me out and get the choke. But I was defending and I had in my mind that I knew he was going to get tired. I could feel how much power he was trying to use and I was keeping my cool, just working my way out. Once I got up, he tried a guillotine, arm-in guillotine, but that also was not that good. I was just letting him use his power. I wanted him to waste that energy.”
Which is exactly what happened. Back on the feet, Luque knew that it was his moment. Krantz was showing signs of gassing, “and I was still sharp so I could pick my shots. I got my shots in and got the finish and I’m excited with that.”
“I train so much for this. I train so much to be ready for the bad situations and be able to overcome. That’s the biggest thing about fighting,” Luque continued. “It’s easy to go in there and do the easy part: hit guys, submit guys, knock guys out. I do that all the time. The hard part is to survive and weather what the guy brings. I showed that in my last fight against Barberena. I can survive. For this fight, I didn’t expect as much difficulty at the start, but when he brought it, I was fine, I was good. I knew that it was part of fighting and I was going to survive and get back up and make him pay. That was my mentality and it paid off.”
Luque was grateful for his opponent stepping up, after all was said and done. “I had nothing but respect for him,” he said. When they spoke after the fight, “I thanked him a lot.”
“Even before, we saw each other in the locker rooms and we said, ‘Hey, let’s go in there and have fun and have a great fight for everyone.’ I love fighting,” Luque added. “I had to fight this week, no matter who it was. I had to go in there and do my thing. Big respect to him for taking this fight.”
In regards to a future match-up Luque is looking to get on the UFC Urugauy card. In the main event. His preferred opponents? Darren Till, or Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Watch the full UFC Rochester post-fight press scrum with Vicente Luque above!