Vinc Pichel (13-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) will look to make it two in a row when he meets Austin Hubbard (13-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC Vegas 34 on Aug. 21.
Vinc Pichel vs. Austin Hubbard
Pichel said Hubbard is solid up-and-comer, but when it comes time to close the Octagon doors, he doesn’t know what Hubbard can do to beat him.
“I feel like I outmatch him everywhere, whether it’s striking, grappling, or even cage control and fight IQ,” Pichel told MMASucka. “I’m looking to finish the fight. I’m definitely not looking to fight 15 minutes. I’m going to be looking to finish him the whole time.”
Pichel is riding a two-fight win-streak over Roosevelt Roberts and Jim Miller and is 6-1 in his last seven. The lone blemish came against top-10 lightweight Gregor Gillespie.
Hubbard is coming off a win over Dakota Bush and has also beaten Max Rohskopf and Kyle Prepolec in the UFC. He has fallen short against Mark O. Madsen, Joe Solecki and Davi Ramos.
Pichel said Hubbard hasn’t fought a “brute” like him and is in for a big surprise when the two throw down.
“From what I’ve seen in his fights, if he shows up to fight me like he’s fought these other guys, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble,” Pichel said. “I don’t know what he’s going to do. If he beats me, it’s a good win for him, right? I just don’t see that happening. I’m not that kind of guy. I don’t know if he thinks I’m the old man or what, but I’m just a ferocious brute, and there’s no way around that besides being ugly with me and fighting me. So, he’s going to have to do that.”
Pichel, 38, has developed a reputation for being stronger than most lightweights.
“I was in the gym training with Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith, and we were doing some wrestling drills,” Pichel recalls. “He was like, ‘F—, what weight do you fight at?’ I’m like, ‘’55.’ He’s like, ‘You’re a f—ing ‘55’er?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He’s like, ‘You’re f—ing stupid strong.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, thanks, little guy!’”
“From Hell” Pichel considers his strength to be a natural attribute and something he feels his opponents can’t really train for.
Pichel is eyeing a run through the top-15 of the lightweight roster. He feels he’ll need more than a win over Hubbard to earn that shot, however.
“My status, my fighting style, and, if you notice when I fight, people adjust to me; I don’t adjust to them. That’s a clear indicator how dangerous I am as a fighter. I don’t think Austin Hubbard is the guy for me to beat that’s going to allow me to get that. I think it’s just me getting on my roll and doing what I do.”
Vinc Pichel Overcomes Layoff
Pichel’s win over Miller on Aug. 15, 2020, was the last time he was in the Octagon. It will be more than a year since his last bout by the time he touches down on the canvas against Hubbard. Pichel admits he’s no stranger to long layoffs, but they haven’t stopped him from earning wins in his returns.
“Ring rust is bulls—. That’s just a confidence issue, to me anyway.”
A few factors contributed to Pichel’s current layoff. A bone bruise he suffered from a kick he threw against Miller sidelined him for a month. In November, Pichel caught the coronavirus when the disease went through his gym. It took a month for Pichel to test negative.
Vinc Pichel’s Move to Factory X
Then, Pichel decided to move from Simi Valley, California, to Denver, Colorado, where he began training at Factory X. He wasn’t able to move out until March.
“As soon as I got out here, it was like, bam, right into training,” Pichel said. “If anyone knows my career, me taking a year off isn’t really a surprise. I usually fight once or twice a year, if that. So it’s pretty normal for me. I have a really hectic life, so a lot of life s— always holds me back. Once I overcome the life s— and deal with it and get that squared away, I’m right back into fighting, so here I am.”
It took roughly a month-and-a-half for Pichel to get acclimated to the high altitude of Denver. Once he got used to it, he called up his manager, Jason House of Iridium Sports Agency, and asked for a fight. The Hubbard contract arrived in May.
“I’ve been slowly getting myself into it, pressing a lot of my skills and techniques,” Pichel said of his camp. “I’m trying to add some more tools and weapons to my tool bag and be as prepared as any other fight.”
Vinc Pichel will look to use those tools to finish Hubbard. “Violence and a finish” was his prediction for the bout with “Thud.”
“I’m not looking to fight him for 15 minutes. I’m looking to finish this kid. I want to go out there and make a statement. Normally, I like to beat the hell out of guys. I’ll grind them out and make them regret taking the fight, as you saw with Jim Miller. I tried to finish him, but Jim Miller is a hard guy to finish. I wasn’t able to finish him, so I just bruted him like I normally do.
“But I’m going to try to finish the kid,” Pichel continued. “And if he’s that tough and I can’t finish him, then I’m going to do the same thing I always do: make them regret taking the fight and make them second-guess their life decisions.”
UFC Vegas 34 is set to go down from the UFC APEX on Saturday, Aug. 21. Vinc Pichel and Austin Hubbard’s lightweight scrap is set to be on the main card, according to the UFC website. The card will air on ESPN+ and is set to be headlined by a middleweight clash between Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
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