Antonio Carlos Junior Plans to See “Who’s Best on the Ground” with Polizzi at PFL 5

Former PFL light heavyweight champ and UFC vet Antonio Carlos Junior returned from an extended layoff earlier this year, becoming one of five PFL 205’ers to secure six points in the opening fight of the season.

Ahead of PFL 5 in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, “Shoeface” spoke of bouncing back from injuries and surgery that took him out of the game for nearly two years.

“Coming back after almost two years out, doing the surgery, the injuries and stuff, it was pretty good to come back, fight against a tough guy, really strong and talented guy,” Carlos Junior (16-5, 2NC) stated during this week’s PFL 5 media day. “And getting a submission in the first round was just perfect for me. I was really looking for that, for the six points, and to do everything I can to get my place for the playoffs.”

If there was any concern about whether he’d have issues about returning to the season format after being out so long, they were put to bed after his win over Simon Biyong.

“After the fight, I could say that it is. For sure, sometimes you question yourself, especially I’ve never been out of the cage so long. But when I got there, I could fight. I felt that good feeling again, the feeling that you’re ready, that I’m gonna do whatever it takes to be the champion again.”

Now, against Polizzi, Antonio Carlos Junior sees a grappler vs. grappler match, and hopes to secure another submission finish.

“For sure. It’s hard not to see grappling in this match. He’s a great wrestler, he looks very strong, got good positions over there,” stated ACJ. “Takes a lot of strong guys down. And I’m a jiu-jitsu guy, so we’re both grapplers. Let’s see who’s going to do best on the ground.”

On how he envisions the fight playing out, “I hope I’m going to get another submission,” he added. “We’re always looking for a submission. I’ve got to see what the fight is going to present. I try never to force anything. It’s MMA, you can’t force anything, you just make things present themselves. When it goes, you’ve just got to get it, and don’t let it go.”

Watch the full PFL 5 media day appearance by Antonio Carlos Junior above.