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UFC heavyweight Junior Albini realizes what is at stake Saturday night. The 28-year-old Brazilian has lost his last three bouts but avoided the dreaded “three-and-out” pink slip that usually follows.
Albini (14-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) can erase any discussions of a UFC release with a victory over “The Crochet Boss” Maurice Greene (7-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC on ESPN 3.
“My losses don’t reflect who I am,” Albini told MMA Junkie. “I still have a lot to show the fans. It all starts with this bout. It will be a new start.”
He added, “My goal is to keep my job in the UFC. My only focus is to change this trend by having a great victory.”
After his TKO loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in February, “Baby” was unsure he’d get another chance. Thankful for the opportunity, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound heavyweight is determined to make the most of it.
“The UFC has changed my life for the better,” Albini said. “I had a good debut, followed by a few losses that shouldn’t have happened. I was very well prepared, confident and focused on my last two bouts. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out as I had envisioned. That doesn’t change my motivation. I am preparing in the best way possible to make the most of another opportunity the UFC has granted me. I’m looking to turn things around against Maurice Greene.”
Unable to spend time at American Top Team, Albini centralized his training camp in his native city of Paranagua. Saturday night against Greene, Albini believes he’ll reap the fruits of four months of hard work.
“I don’t think he’ll want to clinch or go for takedowns,” Albini said. “I think this is a favorable matchup since I don’t plan to clinch either. He’s a big guy, so it would be a big energy expenditure. I believe that both of us will want to stand. The details will be worked out once we’re in there.”
He later added, “I’m only focused on beating Maurice Greene. It’s a crucial moment in my UFC career. My plan is to kill or die.”
UFC on ESPN 3 takes place Saturday at Target Center in Minneapolis. The card airs on ESPN.
News | MMA Junkie