SAO PAULO, Brazil — Francisco Trinaldo had the longest winning streak of his MMA career snapped by Kevin Lee in March, and that night taught him an important lesson.
Getting back in action at Saturday’s UFC Sao Paulo against Jim Miller, “Massaranduba” detailed the impact of getting submitted by Lee and seeing his seven-fight streak go away.
“It taught me that you can’t keep your hands down,” Trinaldo told MMA Fighting. “I was ahead in the fight and kept my hands down, thinking the fight was easy, and that’s when the head kick came and I ended up (getting) submitted. This fight taught me that the fight is only over when the referee steps in.”
Now facing one of the most experienced fighters in the lightweight division in Miller, the popular Brazilian promises to not take his opponent lightly.
“I won’t keep my hands low in this fight, and I’ll be active all the time,” he said. “This fight has everything to be an exciting one. I’m so confident and well-trained that if he’s not well-trained, this fight won’t go to the third round. Everybody knows he’s a tough guy, but I am too, and I train hard every day.”
Trinaldo won one “Fight of the Night” bonus during his seven-fight winning streak for an action-packed clash with Yancy Medeiros at UFC 198, and he hopes that Miller does his part so they can pocket another $50,000 check Saturday night.
“I foresee myself doing one of the best performances of the night,” Trinaldo said. “I see ourselves doing the best fight of the night. I hope he doesn’t come to hold me down, I want to go for a fight, and I will win. He will come with this game of holding you down but, like I said, I’m ready to finish the fight if he makes a mistake.”
“I always trained everything, but I worked a lot of my grappling now, did everything right,” he continued. “This fight came in the right moment. He’s the perfect opponent. I’ll do to him what no one else has done before. We’re going to put on a show.”
An extra bonus in the UFC would be great, Trinaldo says, now that he’s competing for the first time since becoming a father. His six-month-old son, Francisco Neto, is too young to understand what “Massaranduba” does for a living, but has become an important part of his career already.
“It has changed a lot of things for me,” Trinaldo said of being a father. “It’s an extra incentive for me to train harder every day and get better. A better person, a better fighter, better in everything. When I’m tired, I look at him and get motivated. I think that I have another mouth to feed [laughs].”