Longtime veteran of the game with 33 professional fights in multiple weight classes, Francisco Trinaldo, 42, sees his UFC Vegas 28 fight on Saturday night as the start of a new journey.
Nine years after joining the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 1 As a middleweight and scoring big wins against Paul Felder, Jim Miller, Yancy Medeiros and Evan Dunham at 155 pounds, “Massaranduba” made his welterweight debut against Muslim Salikhov at UFC APEX on Saturday.
“I see this fight as a new start to the UFC,” Trinaldo said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “An experienced guy making his UFC debut again. I am ready to fight anyone in this division.
Trinaldo called for putting on weight after a brutal cut in July 2020. It was the first time he had missed weight in 15 years as a professional MMA fighter. Trinaldo stopped Jai Herbert by TKO in the third round that morning in Abu Dhabi, extending his winning streak to three, and he now feels healthier at 170 pounds.
Unlike in the past, Trinaldo said he is now able to train for combat during the week of combat. His diet also changed, with Massaranduba adding red meat and carbohydrates and not holding back in the practice to “save energy.”
Having said that, Trinaldo doesn’t regret not moving earlier “because I had good fights at 155 and I’m sure I’ll be even better at 170”.
“Everyone will be stunned by my performance on the 5th,” said Trinaldo, who promises to impress against Russian striker Salikhov 17-2. “He’s a great fighter, but he doesn’t like to be touched, and I’ll touch him hard. It’s a tough fight for anyone at 170, but I’m also a tough fight.
“He won’t come expecting an easy fight because there is no easy fight with me. I can fight a heavyweight and I’m sure I won’t give any of them an easy fight.
Also known as the “King of Kung Fu,” Salikhov has won his last four UFC games against Elizeu Zaleski and Nordine Taleb. His two losses came by submission, while Trinaldo’s 26-7 record includes five submissions and nine knockouts.
“I trained to finish it, but I’m ready to go hard for three laps,” he said. “Let’s see if he can handle my pressure.” My head is prepared for three rounds of war.
Trinaldo hopes to make noise from the start in his first welterweight showdown, but has given up on facing Donald Cerrone, he said, “because he doesn’t want to fight me” . The Brazilian fighter said he volunteered to replace Diego Sanchez against “Cowboy” last May, but claims Cerrone turned him down before “getting beaten up” by Alex Morono.
The American Top Team welterweight already has a name in mind for his post-fight call, but said fans will have to tune in on Saturday to hear him.
“I know this is a fight the fans would love to see and I’m sure he will accept it,” Trinaldo said. “We are going to have a great fight. “