Lando Vannata has made quite the UFC entrance.
The JacksonWink fighter made his promotional debut last year, where he stepped in as a short-notice replacement to fight the top-ranked Tony Ferguson at UFC Fight Night 91.
Vannata, 24, surprised fans with his tenacity and aggression. ‘Groovy’ took it to ‘El Cucuy’ from the opening bell and almost knocked him out with a spinning backfist in the first round. After a pulsating opening five minutes, which saw both lightweights engage in a back-and-forth frenzy, Ferguson sunk in a D’arce choke at 2:22 of the second round.
Vannata, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rebounded with a spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout of John Makdessi on the UFC 206 preliminary card.
The striking-based fighter predicts that he will become a UFC fan favorite and says that his ultimate goal is a rematch with Ferguson.
"The last four fights I've had have all been pretty damn exciting fights," Vannata told Duane Finley of Flo Combat. "I've had some snorers in the past, but as of recent years I think my style is exciting. I think it's one of a kind, and I think it's very offense orientated. I think I'm going to be a fan favorite."
"F**k yeah," Vannata said when asked about whether he would accept a rematch with Ferguson. "That's one that, err, I try not to hold onto anything or keep that brick in my pocket, but yeah, it's one I want to get back in the future.
"I'm going to keep climbing up the rankings, and in time, me and Tony are going to meet again and it's going to make for a good story--I can't f**king wait for the day."
Ferguson, who outclassed former 155 lbs champion Rafael dos Anjos at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale, will square off with the No. 1 ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov in a number one contender’s bout at UFC 209. The winner will go on to face newly-minted champ Conor McGregor later this year.
After scoring a first-round KO over Makdessi — the 8th stoppage win of his career — Vannata will collide with Ultimate Fighter 22 quarter-finalist David Teymur at UFC 209. The pay-per-view, which features a co-main event between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, takes place March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.