The last time we saw Akira Corassani inside the Octagon he received some unscheduled rhinoplasty thanks to the (illegal) knee of Maximo Blanco. Next week, Corassani and his rebuilt proboscis will step into the cage to face No. 6 ranked featherweight Dustin Poirier.
When the match up between the unranked Corassani (12-3-0-1) and the highly touted Poirier (15-3) was announced for the April 16 The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale card, many were left scratching their head. After all, Poirier has heard his name mentioned as a possible title contender in the UFC's 145 pound weight division and, to be kind, Corassani has not.
To hear Corassani tell it, his eyebrows rose as well when he learned the UFC was willing to match him up against Poirier. Corassani, appearing on The MMA Hour, said the UFC presented him three fights to chose from for his next bout and when he saw Poirier's name included on that list, "It was like your friend calling you and saying, ‘hey, I got this free cruise.' It was like a present."
Corassani did not hesitate to circle Poirier's name and return the list to the UFC, "To be somebody, you got to beat somebody," said Corassani. "Those other fights were kind of just another fight."
There's little doubt that Corassani will be the underdog entering the fight, and that's a fact the 31-year-old Swede is totally comfortable with. In fact, it's something he welcomes, "When there's an element of danger, when there's more at stake, I perform better," Corassani said. "I thrive under those circumstances."
Corassani described himself as 100 percent confident that he would walk out of the Octagon next Wednesday night with his hand raised in victory, adding, "All this talk is cheap, when the cage door closes you have to rise to the occasion, and that's what I'm going to do."