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Antonio Carlos Junior ‘dying for a brawl’ against Brad Tavares at UFC 257

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Middleweight Antonio Carlos Junior is eager to step back into the Octagon for the first time since 2019.

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Antonio Carlos Junior cannot wait to get back into the Octagon again. Following an understandbly inactive year of 2020, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt is now finally booked to return in early 2021. Paired up against Brad Tavares for a clash of styles at UFC 257, the TUF Brazil 3 hopes his return is a thrilling one.

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu World and Pan American champion, ‘Shoeface’ hopes to score another one of his signature submissions against Tavares. For the first time in his career on a two-fight losing skid, the 30-year-old expects not only to put on an impressive performance, but to end the negative moment he is going through as of late.

“2020 was a different year for everyone.” Antonio told Combate. “Me, I had to recover from surgery. I had knee surgery and it was a year of learning for me. To bottle up my emotions and let them out in my next fight. I want to fight again badly, I’m dying for a brawl. Despite what happened in 2020, I’m really excited to work again.”

“It’s the first time I’ve lost two in a row in my career.” Junior continued. “I actually thought I won my last fight. That’s kind of controversial. I’ve been seeing some controversial calls lately and my last fight was one of them. You can expect a Shoeface with even sharper jiu-jitsu. All this time away has made me even hungrier for a win. I’m dying to go out there again be that guy full of will, with a desire to finish.”

Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Carlos Junior (10-4-1 NC) dropped back-to-back decisions to Ian Heinisch and Uriah Hall, respectively in May and September 2019. Before that, Shoeface was on a five-fight winning streak, with victories over Leonardo Guimaraes, Marvin Vettori, Eric Spicely, Jack Marshman and Tim Boetsch.

Now, Carlos Junior is expected to take on Tavares at UFC 257, on January 23, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight bout between former interim champion Dustin Poirier and former double champ Conor McGregor.