Julio Arce: Road to UFC 230

Julio Arce
UTICA, NY - JUNE 01: (R-L) Julio Arce attempts to submit Daniel Teymur of Sweden in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at the Adirondack Bank Center on June 1, 2018 in Utica, New York. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

At UFC 230, UFC featherweight Julio Arce takes on Sheymon Moraes. After fighting much of his career in Ring of Combat, and making an appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Arce finds himself 3-0 in the company looking for his fourth win. Recently, Arce talked with MMASucka about his time in RoC, his UFC career to this point, and his fight with Moraes.

Julio Arce Road to UFC 230

Pre-UFC Career

As previously stated, most of Julio Arce’s fights occurred in Ring of Combat, where he was bantamweight and featherweight champion, before being signed by the UFC. Currently sitting with a record of 15-2, both of Arce’s losses came in RoC. They also both came to the same man, UFC bantamweight Brian Kelleher. When asked about what he learned about himself from those losses, Arce felt he learned the most about his body and his weight cut.

“Those were great fights to learn from,” he said. “Also, it was the point where I had to make the move to the featherweight division. Fighting at 135 was doing me more harm than good. My body was suffering through the weight cut and I wasn’t performing the way I should have. So, I moved up and I feel great.”

It was a great move for Julio Arce’s career, and has definitely paid off thus far. He has not lost a fight since making the move to featherweight. Usually, fighters try to go down in weight if they are changing weight classes. However, Arce is a great example of a guy who has benefited from not draining his body so drastically during a weight cut.

UFC Debut

Julio Arce’s first appearance in UFC was on DWTNCS. After a second-round TKO, Arce liked his chances of earning a contract. When he found out he wouldn’t be getting a contract, he was let down, but knew it was only a minor setback.

“After my fight in the contender series when I heard I didn’t get the contract, at first I was a little disappointed. But, I kept my head up high because I got a win and let them know that I would be ready and showed them what I am capable of,” is what Arce had to say of not receiving a contract.

He wasn’t wrong about letting them know that he would be ready. Before his first fight on an actual UFC card, Arce was training for a kickboxing match. Dan Ige found himself needing an opponent for UFC 220, and Arce was the man who got the call.

“After the contender series fight, I just stayed ready in case someone got hurt and I could fill in. So, I kept my training up and my conditioning and the opportunity came. I have to thank my teammate Shane Burgos for starting the word on twitter to put me in then my manager Dave Fish also put the word out.” Arce’s team had his back, and he found himself making his debut as a short notice replacement.

Because he was training for a kickboxing match, it was a risk for Arce to take a short notice fight against a grappler like Ige. Arce was confident, though, that his kickboxing training would help him in the fight. “Next thing you know, I was fighting in Boston against Dan Ige who was a tough opponent. But, I knew my movement and my stand up was going to be key for this fight.”

He was right. He didn’t get taken down once in the fight, showing strong takedown defense. On the feet, he pieced up Ige with his boxing on his way to a unanimous decision in his UFC debut.

First UFC Finish

Arce’s next fight would come against Daniel Teymur on the main card of UFC Fight Night 131. After a very impressive striking performance, Arce ended up finishing Teymur with a rear-naked choke in the third round. Once again, he looked sharp in the octagon and was starting to show that he is a very good, well-rounded fighter.

UFC 230 Fight

Julio Arce’s UFC 230 opponent, Sheymon Moraes, is a top-level striker. So is Arce, as he is a Gold Gloves Boxing winner and very good kickboxer. When asked if he trained differently, or trained other aspects more than others, Arce said that wasn’t the case.

“In preparation for Moraes who is another tough test in front of me, I prepared in every aspect, and I can’t wait to display my skill set.”

Whether the fight stays on the feet, goes to the clinch, or ends up on the floor, Arce feels comfortable in his abilities in any aspect. Despite his boxing background, he is definitely willing and able to take the fight to the ground if he doesn’t like the way it is going on the feet. Or, if he is winning the striking battle, he will have no problem standing and banging.

It’s easy for younger fighters to get complacent or cocky with success, but that is not the case with Julio Arce. When asked what he thinks will be next for himself, Arce didn’t have an answer. His focus is completely on Moraes, and he can worry about what’s next after this fight is over.

“After this fight I don’t know what to expect next because this is my focus. After my fight I will have an answer, but for now my focus is on having a great fight with Moraes.”

It might be one of the more underrated fights on the card. Two young, confident fighters with bright futures is always a good fight to look forward to. Julio Arce is confident in his own abilities, and with the career he has had to this point, can you blame him?


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