Riding the wave of a seven-fight win streak into UFC Vegas 10 this weekend is Billy Quarantillo.
Quarantillo (14-2) has put together back-to-back wins in the octagon now, and will look to secure a third against Canada’s Kyle Nelson on Saturday night.
Not that’s he’s an overnight success by any stretch of the imagination. Quarantillo actually began his march to the UFC years ago, appearing on The Ultimate Fighter 22 back in 2015. A full five years before he would finally get his shot in the octagon.
“It’s been it’s been a long time coming,” he told Cageside Press about arriving in the big show at this week’s UFC Vegas 10 media day. “I just saw it was the five year anniversary of the Ultimate Fighter that I was on, Team Faber vs. Team McGregor. So it’s definitely been a lot of hard work I put in and it finally feels like it’s paying off. It’s a great feeling man, this is a dream come true to be here.”
One of the big takeaways from his experience on TUF 22, said Quarantillo, was “just getting the experience. Being around all those guys, being around [Urijah] Faber, [Conor] McGregor, and knowing that I was capable of competing with these guys in the UFC.”
As he heads into the fight with Kyle Nelson on Saturday, Quarantillo recognizes that there’s a reason the pair have been featured so prominently. “I think the reason why we’re on the main card is because I think there’s gonna be some fireworks in this fight,” he opined. “I think it’s going to be exciting right from the opening bell.”
Quarantillo, to say the least, has had a bit of a crazy year. Of course, so have most of us in 2020. But Billy wound up being behind the cancellation of Matt Frevola’s fight back in June, after Quarantillo tested positive for COVID-19.
He wasn’t the first fighter to test positive for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and he won’t be the last. Unfortunately, it cost a teammate a fight — but Quarantillo had no idea he was even sick.
“No real symptoms. I had like a stuffy nose and then for like a couple days I couldn’t really taste everything as normal,” he recalled. “But just having the stuffy nose, it didn’t even alarm me because I have allergies, I’ve had a broken nose before, so I wouldn’t even have known that I had anything, besides that they told me I was positive.”
Luckily, since then, he’s had several negative tests — so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.
UFC Vegas 10 takes place this Saturday, September 12 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card airs live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).