“The Alpha Ginger” Spike Carlyle makes his sophomore appearance inside the octagon at UFC Vegas this weekend. When he does, he’ll take on Contender Series vet Billy Quarantillo. At a planned catchweight of 150lbs — a rarity in the UFC.
These are strange times, of course. While the UFC isn’t the biggest fan of catchweight fights, exceptions are bound to be made. They’ve done that here with Carlyle (9-1), who got some added good news this week when it was announced his fight had been bumped up to the main card.
“Oh, unbelievable, man,” he told Cageside Press about that promotion, at the UFC Vegas virtual media day. “Thank you, Jesus. It’s cool. Very cool.”
Carlyle is an entertainer as well as a fighter, one who enjoys making the most of walkouts and putting on a show for fans. Thus far, his UFC run hasn’t seen him hit the largest stages just yet. A small media day in Norfolk, Virginia, and now a virtual one in the UFC’s return to Vegas, which will be without fans. Still, Carlyle is staying positive.
“I’m actually ecstatic. I’m happy to be at this moment,” he said. “And you know, everything’s a unique experience right now. So I’m taking it all in. So we’ll see. I’ve never experienced the biggest stages yet. I had a little bit of one in Norfolk, like you said, but it wasn’t the biggest stage. But when you get in there, it doesn’t change anything. You have a sole target, sole focus.”
His sole focus this time out is Billy Quarantillo, teammate of the man Carlyle beat in his UFC debut, Aalon Cruz. Asked about the match-up, Carlyle came back with a question of his own: “what is your definition of a gift?”
Something given to you. That you appreciate. That you treasure. That was our response. Carlyle ran with it. “That’s what this fight is. This is a gift from God for me.”
Later, he’d describe his expectations for the fight in a single word. “The one word I’ll give you guys for this fight is massacre,” Carlyle said. We’ll find out if that prediction comes true on Saturday night.
UFC on ESPN 9 goes down this Saturday, May 30 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).