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LAS VEGAS – Don’t expect Chris Curtis to play with fire at the UFC Apex on Saturday.
Curtis (28-8 MMA, 2-0 UFC) meets high-level grappler and ADCC champion Rodolfo Vieria in the opening bout of the main card at UFC on ESPN 38. The bout will be Curtis’ third of his UFC tenure after finishing his first two opponents. This time around, he knows he’s about to face a high-level grappler, but did not specifically prepare for Vieria’s style of fighting.
“I’ve reached a point in my career now where I’ve fought a lot of different people, a lot of different things, and I’ve kind of realized that whenever I prepare for somebody specifically, I tend to fail miserably,” Curtis told reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “My jaunt in PFL taught me the pitfalls of preparing for something that may or may not happen or may be different.
“So really, instead of worrying about how great he is on the ground, I accept right away I’m never gonna beat Rodolfo Vieira on the ground. Maybe I can get the lucky, weird Fluffy submission but I’m not gonna bank on that. Like, I’m not gonna out-grapple him.”
“Fluffy” aka Anthony Hernandez pulled off a slick guillotine choke submission on Vieira (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 258 last February. Curtis will take it if it comes this Saturday, he won’t exactly be looking for it.
Instead of trying to focus on what Vieria will bring to the table, Curtis says his camp for this fight has been the same as it has been for his previous fights. When asked if he plans on trying to grapple with Vieria, his response was simple and to the point.
“F*ck no,” Curis said. “There’s no way. People were like, ‘Oh, you think you can grapple him?’ Like, no. His nickname is the black belt, like why would I even? Like, why would that ever be a part of the gameplan?
“I love the internet thinks I’m stupid too. I always get messages on Twitter like, ‘Hey man, just don’t go to the ground with him.’ Like, I never would have considered this to be my path to victory. Thank you, wise sir.”