UFC wins help Eric Spicely build confidence

Updated June 1, 2017 - 8:50 pm

UFC middleweight Eric Spicely hopes a win Saturday will set up a fight for a belt, even though he’s not near title contention.

Spicely is still fixated on challenging Dan Kelly for the fictional “best nonripped 185-pounder” title.

He knows he has work to do first.

“I’ve got to get through (Antonio Carlos Junior on the UFC 212 card Saturday in Rio de Janeiro),” Spicely said after a workout at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas last week. “Dan Kelly’s got to get through Derek Brunson. But I want to fight him, and I will bring the belt.”

Spicely proposed the faux-championship bout after his win over Alessio Di Chirico in January. It’s unclear what sparked his rivalry with Kelly other than a cosmetic distaste for watching his fights.

“I just don’t like him,” said Spicely, laughing. “He’s tough to watch.”

Spicely needs to be careful if he wants to stay eligible for the belt. He’s in phenomenal shape after an extended training camp in Las Vegas to prepare for his fight against “Shoeface” on Saturday.

While Spicely has enjoyed his time at Syndicate with head coach John Wood and several of his fellow castmates from “The Ultimate Fighter,” he’s unsure of whether he will make the move to Las Vegas permanently.

It’s something he might consider more closely after the fight, but he knows the challenge that lies ahead.

Carlos Junior is an elite grappler who won the Brazilian edition of “TUF” as a heavyweight and is 3-1 with a no-contest since dropping to middleweight.

Spicely is on a two-fight winning streak since suffering the first loss of his career and has submitted each of his past two opponents.

He’s excited for the challenge.

“He’s a multiple time jiu-jitsu world champion with pretty heavy hands,” Spicely said of Carlos Junior. “He won ‘TUF’ as a heavyweight, so he’s a pretty big guy. It’s an interesting fight, because I have a pretty good grappling-based style, but it might take me out of my comfort zone a bit. It will be a different fight than I’m used to because I usually have a pretty good grappling advantage in my fights.”

Spicely isn’t sure that’s the case this time, but he wants to find out.

“He has better credentials than I do,” Spicely said. “I’m not saying I’m a better grappler, but I do think there are ways to beat him, especially over the long game. He cuts a lot of weight, and he does get pretty tired. My plan is to beat him in the second or third round.”

It would be a huge win for Spicely, who continues to gain confidence in his skills. After dropping his UFC debut to Sam Alvey for his first career loss in July, Spicely wasn’t sure how long he would be around in the UFC.

Now he’s on the verge of a three-fight winning streak and making a leap in the rankings.

“I went from almost being cut to beating a ranked guy to beating another tough opponent,” he said. “I feel like I’m on a hot streak, and I want to keep it going.”

The bout is part of the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1 that airs live at 5 p.m. A featherweight title unification bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champ Max Holloway headlines the pay-per-view card, which begins at 7.

More MMA: See more MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
Covering the Cage: Frank Mir interview
Adam Hill talks to Bellator MMA heavyweight Frank Mir about his upcoming fight.
Covering The Cage: Rose Namajunas Retains Title
Covering the cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang go over Rose Namajunas retaining the Women's strawweight title.
Covering The Cage: Changes To UFC 223 Fight Card
Covering The Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill go over changes to the UFC 223 fight card including Khabib Nurmagomedov's new opponent.
Covering The Cage: Conor McGregor Posted $50,000 Bail
Covering The Cage hosts Heidi Fang and Adam Hill go over Conor McGregor in facing three misdemeanor chargers and posting $50,000 bail.
Covering The Cage: Conor McGregor Court Appearance
Covering the Cage host Adam Hill and Heidi Fang go over the recent developments of Conor McGregor.
Covering The Cage Facebook Live - March 29,2018
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk UFC 223 live via. SKYPE with Ufc Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson on his main event clash with number 1 contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Covering the Cage: UFC 222 recap
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss UFC 222
Covering The Cage: UFC 222 Recap
Covering The Cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang go over the main card fights including Cris Cyborg keeping her title, Bryan Ortega's win over Frankie Edgar and Sean O'Malley fighting through an injury.
UFC 222: Fight Preview
Covering the cage hosts Adam Hill and Heidi Fang provide a preview for UFC 222 as well as their predictions.
Covering The Cage: UFC 222 Preview
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang go over the top fights to watch for at UFC 222 including Cris Cyborg and Brian Ortega.
Covering The Cage: Live Interview With Elias Theodorou
Covering The Cage host Heidi Fang talks with Elias Theodorou to preview UFC on Fox and becoming a ring boy.
Covering the Cage: Roy Nelson interview
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang talk about the world of MMA as well as interview heavyweight Roy Nelson.
Covering the Cage: Feb. 6 Facebook Live
Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss UFC Fight Night 125 as well as preview UFC 221 and UFC 222.
Covering The Cage: Ronda Rousey joins WWE; UFC on Fox 27 recap
Review-Journal reporters Adam Hill and Heidi Fang discuss Ronda Rousey’s move to WWE and recap UFC on Fox 27.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like