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Li Jingliang believes Zaleski win puts him ‘closer to the belt’: ‘I’m anxious to fight him’

Li Jingliang feels like a win over rising Elizeu Zaleski might be his ticket to title contention in the UFC.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Jingliang vs Ottow David McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports

Heavy-handed welterweight Li Jingliang will have quite the task ahead of him when he meets rising contender Elizeu Zaleski in his own home country at UFC China, on Saturday. However, the ‘Leech’ believes that a victory over the Brazilian, who is on a seven-fight winning streak, might just be what he needs to become closer to the belt.

In an interview with Combate, Jingliang explained that he is looking forward to the challenger of taking on ‘Capoeira’ and believes his division is the most competitive one in the UFC.

“My weight class is the most competitive one in the UFC,” Jingliang said. “There many well prepared fighters around me. In my opinion, if I beat Capoeira, I’ll take steps closer to the belt, which is every fighter’s goal. I watched his fights multiple times, I studied my opponent. I know he has many abilities and that’ll have to move a lot. I’m anxious to fight him.”

Although he will have to perform in front of his family and friends, Jingliang brushes off any added pressure from being the home athlete. Instead, he welcomes Zaleski to fight him in his country and believes fighting in China or any other place has the same feeling to it.

“It’s great to fight in China, I’m very confident and prepared,” he said. “I welcome Elizeu for coming all the way to my country. I wish that he can also enjoy this moment and his time in China in the best way that he can. For me, fighting at home or away is the same thing. It doesn’t matter. I believe Elizeu Capoeira thinks the same when he comes to fight here in China.”

Li Jingliang (16-5) will look for his third straight win after defeating the likes of Daichi Abe and David Zawada, in November 2018, in his last couple of outings. Before the wins, the 31-year-old dropped an unanimous decision to Jake Matthews back in February of the same year.

Now, Li Jingliang is expected to take on Elizeu Zaleski at UFC Fight Night 157, in Shenzhen, China, on August 31. The card is expected to be headlined by a strawweight title fight between the champion, Jessica Andrade, and challenger Weili Zhang.