Welterweight contender Elizeu Zaleski did not expect Li Jingliang to play it smart at UFC Shenzhen: Andrade vs. Zhang. In an interview with Combate, ‘Capoeira’ revealed his gameplan.
According to the Brazilian, the strategy was to trade shots with Jingliang, but Zaleski did not expect his opponent to take a more cautious approach, which threw Elizeu’s rhythm off during the match. Eventually leading to a last second stoppage victory for the ‘Leech.’
“It was all a matter of timing. My plan was to strike with him, but he ran away from the fight, he played it smart. I thought he would be more reckless, but he ended up being smarter than we had anticipated. I got lost in the distance, I couldn’t impose my plan.”
Despite being officially TKO’d with only nine seconds left to go in the last round, Elizeu still was not pleased with referee John Sharp’s interruption of the bout. In his opinion, he was still conscious enough to let the time run out.
“I think the ref jumped the gun in the end there. I went down, but I went down okay. He could have let the round go all the way. Unfortunately, that’s part of the game. I was ready, well prepared, despite some injuries suffered during camp—but they don’t matter. I was focused. It was his night, congratulations to him.”
Before the loss, Elizeu Zaleski (21-6) was on a seven-fight winning streak, with victories over Curtis Millender, Sean Strickland, Keita Nakamura and Lyman Good, among others. This defeat marked only the second time Capoeira was bested in the Octagon. His first loss coming in his UFC debut, when he dropped a split decision to Nicolas Dalby back in May 2015.