“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 3 winner Antonio Carlos Jr. was let go by the UFC back in January, but now the 31-year-old is on the verge of fighting for a world championship and $1 million in the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Carlos will face last season’s PFL light heavyweight champion Emiliano Sordi in the semi-finals of the 2021 PFL Playoffs on August 27 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Carlos expects to win his fight against Sordi “in the first round” and move on to the 2021 PFL World Championships later this year.
Carlos revealed to Heavy why he feels at home in the PFL, and why he didn’t necessarily feel the same way in the UFC.
“I don’t think they like my style,” Carlos said.
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Carlos Feels Free to Focus on Fighting in PFL
Carlos said he was glad to compete for an organization that prioritized winning fights over other matters. Carlos believes the UFC rewards “trash talkers” with more fights and better opportunities, and he said life in the PFL is all about just one thing: winning fights.
“In the PFL, you don’t need that. You need to fight well, put on a show and that’s it,” Carlos said.
So Carlos said he knew where he wanted to look just as soon as the UFC handed him his walking papers.
“Since I was in the UFC, I looked at the PFL system, and I liked it because you get what you deserve,” Carlos said.
Carlos didn’t feel the same in the UFC, and now he’s on his way to proving he belongs right where he is today.
“In UFC sometimes, you see the second in the rankings fighting the No. 10. Sometimes it makes no sense. Sometimes the rankings make no sense, so it’s pretty hard. A lot of guys [in UFC] are struggling to fight for the belt, and they really deserve it. But for some reason, they don’t fight…” Carlos said.
Carlos believes it’s already hard enough to win fights as an elite professional MMA fighter, so trying to focus on all the other things around that shifts his focus away from what is most important to him. While he knows some fighters are just naturally talented at that type of thing, he said it just wasn’t for him.
“If it’s natural for you, if you like that kind of thing, it’s alright. But it’s not natural to me. I would have to act to do that,” Carlos said.
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Carlos Touts PFL’s Format and Treatment of Fighters
Carlos explained why the PFL’s sports season format made sense to him.
“I like the system,” Carlos said. “You win the fight, you go to the next, you make the points, you make the playoffs, you go to the final and you get your belt, you get your million [dollars], you get your money,” Carlos said.
On top of that, Carlos touted how the PFL fared in another important area.
“I think the way they treat the fighters in the PFL is just great. I feel at home,” Carlos said.
Feeling free to focus only on his fights, Carlos Jr. is now just two wins away from capturing one of MMA’s major world championships.
Carlos Explains Why He’ll Defeat PFL Champ Sordi on August 27
Carlos will have his work cut out for him against Sordi, but he expects to send last season’s PFL light heavyweight champ back home to Argentina empty-handed.
“He’s a tough guy. He’s the champion from the last season. He hits hard and moves a lot. He has good footwork…But I also look for the holes in his game, something I can use to get a win over him,” Carlos said.
Sordi won a controversial decision over UFC veteran Chris Cammozi to open his season, and he fought to a draw against Dan Spohn in his second fight.
“I think especially in his last two fights, I see a lot of mistakes,” Carlos said.
Carlos hopes to see the same kinds of mistakes when he steps into the cage with Sordi.
“These days, if you make a lot of mistakes, you usually lose the fight. So I hope he does the same mistakes in the fight with me,” Carlos said.
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