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‘I’m a hungry bear’ - Philipe Lins celebrates UFC return after almost two-year hiatus

Heavyweight Philipe Lins is eager to return to the cage at UFC Vegas 52.

The 2018 Professional Fighters League heavyweight champion is happy to finally be returning to the cage. Away from the Octagon since June 2020, Philipe Lins feels ready to make up for the time lost and to have his hand raised for the first time in over three years.

Paired up against Marcin Prachnio at UFC Vegas 52, Lins tells Combate all the waiting has made him hungry to perform again. However, the Brazilian explains that doest not mean he will be hasty in the Octagon.

“He’s a karate striker. He has good kicks and quality boxing. I didn’t see a sharp ground game. He avoids that a lot. I could take advantage of that, but he’s a tough guy, I like to say I’m a hungry bear, just waking up from hibernation. Nobody can cross his path or he will devour them. That’s how I feel. I’ve been building up all this energy for two years. Saving it up and making it stronger. No rush or anxiety. I want to leave it all in the Octagon and unload that two-year wait by feeding the bear inside of me.”

During his time off, Lins had four fights cancelled for various reasons, until an injury that forced him out of a pairing against Ovince Saint Preux sidelined him for the rest of the time, in November 2021. However, surgery turned out to be unecessary, so the Brazilian was able to return less than a year later.

“I had a knee injury. I was going to fight Ovince and it fell through. They gave me another guy, but I my knee acted up again. I didn’t have surgery, just physical therapy and treatment. It was three or four months of physical therapy, then strengthening. That’s almost two years without a fight. It was a hard learning process. I had health problems in my family in Brazil. I had to deal with training camps, cancelled fights, injuries, a bunch thoughts in my head. It has made me a better fighter and person. I left that energy behind and now I feel lighter.”

Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Lins (14-5) got knocked out by Tanner Boser and dropped a unanimous decision to Andrei Arlovski in his last outings. In fact, the 36-year-old’s last win happened in December 2018, when he knocked out Josh Copeland to win the PFL heavyweight tournament.

Now, Lins is expected to meet Prachnio at UFC Vegas 52, on April 23, at the UFC Apex. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a strawweight bout between former champion Jessica Andrade and rising contender Amanda Lemos.