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UFC Brasilia’s David Dvorak started MMA in same building he used to play professional chess

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The Czech flyweight makes his promotional debut on Saturday night against Bruno Silva in Brazil as part of the preliminary card.

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UFC debutant, Dave Dvorak, has gone from checkmating opponents on the chess board to finishing his adversaries inside the cage.

Making the move from professional chess player to MMA fighter isn’t the most common approach to entering the fight game, but it’s one which worked out perfectly for the Czech competitor. Dvorak (17-3) used to play chess in the very same building where there was an MMA gym, so thought he would try out the more physically demanding sport to see what it was like. From the minute he jumped into a class, Dvorak fell in love with the different martial arts and hasn’t looked back since.

He turned professional in June 2010 but showed inconsistency during his early career, going 4-3 in his first seven fights. However, that quickly changed and he hasn’t tasted defeat in the last seven and a half years, winning twelve straight bouts where he finished all of his opponents within the first two rounds. That impressive record earned him a spot on an Oktagon MMA card, the largest Czech-Slovak organization around. The promotion is hugely popular in the region and routinely sells out venues with 10,000+ capacities.

Dvorak submitted his opponent during round two, which extended his winning streak to thirteen. The 27-year-old flyweight was thankful to compete in the promotion and believes they are doing great things to grow the sport in the territory.

“Oktagon MMA is definitely a great promotion and they are really pushing the Czechoslovakian scene forward,” discussed Dvorak. “There aren’t as many good fighters in the Czech Republic or Slovakia but the company gives them chances to compete against foreigners while promoting their names. Athletes can make a good living with them, so I salute what they are doing.”

Following that victory, Dvorak was firmly on the UFC’s radar and he knew that an opportunity to break onto the international stage wasn’t too far away. His big chance came when Su Mudaerji withdrew from his bout against Bruno Silva at UFC Brasilia because of coronavirus fears in his native China. The UFC contacted Dvorak and asked if he was willing to step up on short notice to compete, which is an offer he accepted right away. It has always been his dream to fight in the UFC so he is delighted to be making that walk in Brazil on Saturday night. The man also known as ‘Killa Khroust’ has never been to the country before so flew out early to acclimatise to the different environment.

Silva (10-4-2) made his own UFC debut back in October when he got submitted by Khalid Taha in the third round. The Brazilian has finished 6 of his 10 victories and once fought to a draw with current UFC bantamweight, Casey Kenney, in LFA. However, Dvorak describes himself as ‘an aggressive fighter’ who always looks for the finish, as demonstrated by 15 of his 17 wins being by stoppage. He knows that will be really important this weekend because he doesn’t want to leave the outcome in the judges’ hands due to the fact he is fighting a Brazilian in Brazil. Dvorak is hoping for the best start possible to his UFC career, which would set him up nicely to complete his goal for the year - winning three fights without suffering any injuries.

“Bruno is definitely a good fighter,” mentioned Dvorak. “He’s well-rounded but he’s most certainly not the best that the UFC has to offer. I know he is a fighter who I can beat. My team and I always analyse our opponents very well with the intention of trying to find their weak spot. Usually, we are able to identify it. I will win by TKO in the second or the third round!”

UFC Fight Night: Lee v Oliveira early prelims can be viewed on UFC Fight Pass at 7pm GMT in the UK and Ireland on Saturday night. Fans in the US can tune in from 3pmET/2pmCT on ESPN+.