Eryk Anders (11-4 MMA, 3-4 UFC) returns to the Octagon to fight Vinicius Moreira (9-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC on ESPN 3 this Saturday in Minneapolis, MN for a light heavyweight bout that could potentially carry high stakes for both men.
Anders started his UFC career with a 3-1 stretch that saw him knockout Rafael Natal and Tim Williams. The lone loss was a split decision to MMA legend Lyoto Machida in Machida’s hometown of Belem, Para, Brazil, that many thought Anders won. However, it has been tough sledding since for Anders. He’s bogged down in an 0-3 stretch after suffering losses to Thiago Santos, Elias Theodorou and Khalil Rountree.
Anders knows he’s skating on thin ice when it comes to his UFC tenure, but he’s trying not to let that affect him when he fights Moreira.
“I don’t feel a whole lot of pressure because I thoroughly enjoy my job and doing what I do,” Anders told MMASucka. “I’ve gotta go out there, be the me of the past and starch this guy.”
“I think they enjoy my fighting style”
The UFC has cut ties with many fighters who endure two or three consecutive losses. Anders is getting another shot to get back in the win column. He believes the UFC wants him to stick around and be successful.
“I think they enjoy my fighting style and the show that I put on, and the way I present and carry myself, with the Alabama following that I already have,” he said. “There’s a lot of incentive to keep me around. But at the same time, it’s very much so a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ kind of thing. If I drop this one, it could be the end. But I’m highly confident I’m going to go out there and get this ‘W’ and probably get me a Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night bonus, too.”
Anders said if he were to get released, he would continue on with his MMA career. Though he has zero intention of losing to Moreira.
Another reason Anders believes the UFC likes him is because of his weight-class flexibility. “Ya Boi” can fight at either middleweight or light heavyweight. And though Anders has had more success at 185, the weight class he feels he’s best suited for, he took the fight with Moreira at light heavyweight.
“When the phone rings, I answer it,” Anders said. “And this is the fight they gave me. Every time they call, I say ‘yes,’ and I think that’s part of the reason why they kept me around. They know I’m down to fight whoever, whenever.”
Then there’s the matter of how the fight will play out. Anders believes Moreira will look to take it to the ground and try to submit him.
“I’m definitely the superior striker and that’s where I’m going to try to keep it,” he said. “I expect him to be desperate for a takedown and try to put me on my back.”
After the touch of gloves, Anders plans to go straight to work, pick up a first-round knockout and collect his performance bonus.
Fans can catch the fight on the preliminary portion of the card on ESPN.
Featured Image credit:
Embed from Getty Images