Before 2014, Caio Borralho was a school teacher in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Less than a decade later, the 30-year-old is a 14-fight mixed martial arts veteran on a three-match unbeaten streak in the Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit.
On Saturday, Borralho will take on Michal Oleksiejczuk of Poland in the co-main event clash in the middleweight division of UFC Fight Night 223 in Las Vegas.
The Brazilian, who last lost an MMA bout in 2015, is coming off a win via a unanimous decision over Makhmud Muradov of Uzbekistan in October 2022.
The black belt holder in Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai will face the Polish challenge from Oleksiejczuk, who is two years younger but seven fights senior to him in the UFC.
Speaking exclusively to Sportstar, Borralho shared his thought before his Saturday night octagon clash.
Q. Can you tell us briefly how you came to pursue a career in fight sports? What initially drew you to MMA?
A: I’ve been doing martial arts since I was six years old. I started because I was a hyperactive child and my parents wanted me to channel that energy. I first tried Judo and fell in love with martial arts and competing in it ever since.
Q. You will be competing in the UFC against Michal Oleksiejczuk of Poland, who is two years younger yet seven fights older than you. What are your initial thoughts on the matchup?
A: I believe it is a solid matchup. Michal is an expressive guy in the UFC, a multifaceted dimensional guy that wants to box pretty much everything. I have an extremely well-rounded game. I can out-grapple him, outwrestle him, and I believe I can outplay him with my strikes as well. While his weakness and the way by which he lost the majority of his fights is the way by which I am better - grappling and others. So it’s a good match for me, and I can’t wait to prove it.
Michal Oleksiejczuk profile
Q: What has been your background in Mixed Martial Arts? Did you start with kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu or something else? How do you view your opponent stylistically?
A: In martial arts, I began with Judo before moving on to Jiu-Jitsu. My background is all grappling. After that, I began training in wrestling, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. My opponent is a competent boxer who enjoys boxing. That comes very naturally to him. As a result, the fight will pit an aggressive boxer against a defensive grappler.
Q: Michał has a knockout finish rate of over 72 per cent. He wins almost every 3 out of 4 fights with a knockout, Did facing an aggressive striker make you work on some defensive skills?
A: I’ve worked a lot on my defence, but I’ve invested time in my wrestling because I know I can neutralise his game and get him fatigued with my wrestling, and then I’ll be well-equipped to attack and play my striking game.
Q: How would you approach a fight? Do you tend to work on some last-minute skills, or do you like to stick to your daily routines, even before fights? What does your preparation look like before the bout?
A: I like to stick to my everyday routines. I’ve been following the same regimen for the past ten years. I’ve been working the full camp for around 10 to 12 weeks with my team. So I believe we’re well prepared for all he (Michal) has in store for me and everything I need to do inside the fight.
Q: You only have one loss in your professional MMA career, that too came way back in 2015. You are unbeaten in UFC, and If I am not wrong, it will be your first co-main event of the main card. Do these things put additional pressure on you?
A: This will be my third co-main event, and I’m pleased with my position in this fight. Yes, you correctly pointed out that I haven’t lost a game since 2015, which is nearly eight years. I believe this will do well inside my opponent’s head, but I don’t think too much about these things.
Caio Borralho Profile
Q: What are your plans from here on?
A: My plans have always been to develop myself since I first entered the UFC. I’ve always wanted to win this belt and be the world champion. I understand that I still have a lot of work to do, but my goal is to become a world champion.
Watch the LIVE coverage of UFC Fight Night - Song vs Simon on Sony Sports Ten 2 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) & Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels at 4:30 am IST on 30th April 2023.
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