Vicente Luque, who fights this weekend at UFC Rochester, has discussed the short-notice change of opponent for his fight, and his war with Bryan Barberena earlier this year.
Luque (15-6-1) is currently on a four-fight winning streak in the UFC, all of which have come by finish. The latter was a third-round TKO over Barberena in a fight that both men landed over 300 punches between them, resulting in a contender for Fight of the Year.
“The Silent Assassin” was originally booked to face Neil Magny at UFC Rochester, however a failed USADA test forced him off the card and instead Derrick Krantz will make his UFC debut and face Luque on the night.
“I’ve watched Krantz’s fights and, strategically speaking, I think he’s similar to what I imagine Neil would have done,” Luque told MMA Fighting. “He has heavy hands, something Neil doesn’t have, even though they are [both] good strikers, and they both have good wrestling. I imagine him trying to score takedowns if he sees an opening, so it doesn’t change much in the fight. Speaking of their body types though, it does change a lot.
“Neil is taller and longer and knows how to use his reach, while Krantz is shorter, more similar to my body type. It could be better for me because of the distance, but I expect a tough fight. Krantz is a tough guy, has shown his aggressiveness and qualities before, so I expect a good fight for the fans.”
Luque said the adrenaline of the fight kept him going against Barberena, which eventually meant the 27-year-old stopped “Bam Bam” in the third-round with knees and punches, continuing his 100% finishing rate in the UFC.
“That was the first [fight like that] for me, and I’ve got tell you, it’s something special,” Luque said. “It’s not the kind of fight I want to have all the time, but definitely I’m happy I had that fight and I had it the way it was. It’s something that when you’re in there, I didn’t feel a thing. It was going to war. I got 160-something punches, he got 160-something punches — I wasn’t feeling anything. I just had the mindset of, ‘keep going, keep going, keep pushing and looking for that win,’ and I could hear the crowd, the crowd was going nuts.
“After the fight it wasn’t that much fun, because I was really sore, but during the fight it was one of the best moments of my life.”
UFC Rochester takes place this Saturday, May 18th, at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. A welterweight fight between Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee will headline the card.