Andre Fialho wants a very, very active year.
Fialho (14-4) finally made his UFC debut earlier this year. The fighter from Portugal has fought in basically all of the major MMA organizations in his 18 fight career. He had five fights with Bellator and two fights in PFL.
With the other organizations under his belt, he feels like the UFC is on a different level.
“UFC is a whole different level. I feel they are much more professional, you know, but the whole thing and what got me was the audience. Fighting in front of 18,000 people, you know, the walkout seeing all those people when I got goosebumps and I wanted it again,” Fialho told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview.
While his UFC debut was a special one, fighting in front of a sold-out crowd in the Honda Center in California, his second fight will be much smaller. He will fight at the UFC Apex as part of UFC Vegas 51 this weekend; there’ll be no packed house this time.
Fialho lost to Michel Pereira in his UFC debut via unanimous decision, and when asked what he learned from his loss, he revealed that he let outside factors play a part in his performance.
“[I learned] a lot of things. I broke up with my girlfriend at that time; she was with me for two years. So, I had a broken heart, and I wasn’t training. I went to Portugal for ten days, I got here Monday, and they called me to see if I can make weight Friday,” Fialho said. “So what I learned was I can’t let outside things affect my training, and I need to be ready at all times.”
“I wasn’t ready and wasn’t myself. I was a little embarrassed by my performance because I couldn’t showcase what I’m really capable of.”
Fialho wanted to get right back to work, and he got a call to fill in for Dhiego Lima, who retired and will face Miguel Baeza. Most of Fialho’s wins come via knockout, and he plans on doing what he likes to do on April 16.
“I’m gonna be looking to do what I do best: knock him out. The thing is, every time I’m in shape, I put them out in the first round. I’m precise. When I’m out of shape, I don’t land good,” Fialho said. “But when I’m tiptop shape, they all fall in the first.”
The 28-year old is looking to have a very active year and fight a lot. Six times to be exact. “I want to have six fights this year at least. I want to compete a lot.”
If Fialho gets out unscathed, he wants to turn right around and hop on the April 23 card and fight with fellow Portuguese fighter Manel Kape.
Watch the rest of our interview with Andre Fialho above. UFC Vegas 51 (UFC on ESPN 34) takes place Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.