Castillo prepared for striker vs. wrestler matchup at UFC 142
Danny Castillo will step into the cage for the third time in five months on Friday night.
Most fighters are lucky to get in three fights over the course of a year. In his last fight, Castillo defeated TUF veteran Shamar Bailey at UFC 139 in San Jose at the end of November. He quickly turned around to replace the injured Ramsey Nijem and accepted a bout with Njokuani at Friday’s UFC 141 event in Las Vegas.
But taking fights with only a few weeks to prepare isn’t a problem for Castillo, who trains with the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez.
“Our team, Team Alpha Male, everyone tries to go out of their way to help each other to make sure that we’re ready to win,” Castillo said.
That team attitude has helped Castillo prepare for 2 different opponents in 2 months.
Njokuani is a standup wizard with more than half of his career wins coming by KO or TKO. He made a name for himself in the WEC with his flashy style and wins over thrilling strikers Bart Palazewski and Chris Horodecki.
Castillo doesn’t plan on giving Njokuani space to work his striking game, however. “I plan to make it an ugly fight. There’s not going to be too much technique involved. It’s going to be in his face. I’m just going to put that hardhat on and be that construction worker and go to work. Every chance I have every opportunity I have to punch him or to hit him or to break his body down I’m definitively going to do that.”
The fight appears to be a classic wrestler vs. striker matchup. While Njokuani is known to be deadly on the feet, critics may argue he lacks ground skills. Castillo has five wins via knockout and four via submission.
“He’s a very dangerous striker, he’s an exciting fighter, but his one hole is his wrestling and that happens to be my strongest points,” Castillo said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who implements game plans and comes out on top, but I have a great game plan and I’m just excited. It’s a fight I’m looking forward to.”
Castillo is hoping for his third win under the UFC banner, but he’s also looking to inch closer to the top of the division. That’s where he wants to be, after all.
“My motivation is to be the best in the world and to one day get that belt. That’s something I want to achieve and I strive for everyday.”