Fort Lauderdale, FL — Entering the PFL 2021 World Championship, Croatia’s Ante Delija is preparing to face a familiar foe.
Delija (19-4) lost his first fight of the regular season against Bruno Cappelozza, then picked up wins in his next two bouts to land in the million dollar final. It’s Cappelozza who he’ll be facing this Wednesday, with the heavyweight title, and life-changing money, on the line.
“The pressure for this fight is much bigger than the other one, but I know what I have to do,” Delija told media outlets including Cageside Press in Hollywood, Florida on Monday. “I must go inside, get the job done, and that’s it.”
Asked if he’d rather be able to approach the bout in a more laid-back fashion, Delija added that “It is the same for every fight, I go inside to win, and that’s the only reason I’m inside [the cage]. This fight, I don’t think about the prize or anything, I just want to win.”
He knows, however, that given how the pair’s first fight went, he’ll need to adapt his game plan. Cappelozza knocked out the Croatian heavyweight just 46 seconds into their first meeting. “I must completely change my game plan, I must completely do other stuff, and 100% I will avenge the defeat from the first fight.”
As a mentor, Ante Delija has the legendary Mirko Cro-Cop on his side, a huge motivating factor. “At the beginning when we met, he always trusted that I could have a big career. So this is a very big motivation to carry on, and to try to do what he thinks I can.”
Delija has said in the past that it was Cro-Cop who opened the door for MMA in Croatia. Bringing the PFL title to his home country would be the next step in establishing the sport there. “Yes, it would be a big thing for the new generation. They could see one big belt from a big organization can go to Croatia, so anything is possible for the next generations,” he agreed.
Watch the full PFL 2021 World Championship media day appearance from Ante Delija above. More coverage can be found below. The event takes place this Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Hollywood, FL.