Three years after Dana White promised a phone call, Allan Nascimento believes the UFC shot came ‘at the right time’

Allan Nascimento will finally enter the Octagon this Saturday when he takes on Russian flyweight Tagir Ulanbekov in the preliminary round of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi.

The moment ends a long three-year wait for the Brazilian talent.

The UFC hosted its first – and so far the only – Brazilian season of Dana WhiteContender Series in 2018, which led to the signing of Augusto Sakai, Johnny Walker, Marina Rodriguez and Thiago Moises. Nascimento failed in his 125-pound clash with Raulian Paiva this season, but moments after Paiva’s split-decision victory that landed him a UFC contract, Nascimento dismissed Dana White to present himself properly – and that’s at that point that Nascimento said the president of the UFC warned him.

“Dana White praised the fight, called it the best of the entire season at the time,” Nascimento told MMA Fighting. “I was very upset at the end of the fight, of course. I thought I won but the judges gave it to Raulian, and he does a great job in the UFC.

“I spoke to Dana White after the fight was over, took her aside to introduce myself, talk to her, and I remember her exact words:” Keep practicing because we’re going to watch [you] and we’ll call you as soon as possible. ‘”

Weeks and months passed and Nascimento’s phone never rang. A series of canceled fights in 2019 and a global pandemic that shut down the sport for months in 2020 kept ‘Puro Osso’ on the sidelines longer than expected, but a quick first-round submission in his first fight in July 2021 has been enough.

“The call theoretically took three years [to come], right? “said Nascimento.” It’s not that it took too long, it happened at the right time. It happened just when I’m ready for the biggest promotion in the world.

“I knew I had to get a win to be able to negotiate a place in the UFC. Contender Series was my last fight [before July 2021] and I have had many canceled fights since, I also had knee surgery, and was in a bind on several occasions.

“It all happened slowly. Pandemic, the cards don’t happen. I had the opportunity to fight in Punho de Aço 6 on short notice [at bantamweight] and it was unexpected. I really didn’t expect to sign [with the UFC] right after this win I thought I would need one more, but [UFC matchmaker] Mick Maynard gave me the opportunity to sign and show my work in the UFC.

Victorious in 18 of 23 pro fights since his MMA debut ten years ago, and teammate with UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, Nascimento has vowed to “go all the way” when he does. his UFC debut and will feature a “more mature” and a “more focused” version of himself.

“We both have similar styles because we’re really going for the fight,” Nascimento said of Ulanbekov, who has beaten Brazilian flyweight Bruno Silva, Denilson Matos and Denis Araujo in his last three outings. “It’s not this typical Russian who wants to take it down and play it safe. He exposes himself to the feet and also works on the ground, so I think it’s going to be a good fight.

“Honestly, that’s what my manager Jorge Patino ‘Macaco’ always says: a goal is a goal, no matter how nice it is or not. I want to fight a good fight and impress, of course, but my idea is to win. “

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Johnnie Hill

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