LAS VEGAS – Vitor Petrino was in a unique position when he walked to the cage for the Dana White’s Contender Series 53 main event Tuesday.
Petrino had the pressure of needing to beat someone he already had a win over, and knew if he did so in impressive enough fashion, it also would mean a chance to fight in the biggest promotion in the world.
Petrino (7-0) knocked out Rodolfo Bellato (8-2) in the second round of their light heavyweight headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and he did indeed secure the UFC deal he was after. He first had fought Bellato in their native Brazil a little more than three years ago in what was Petrino’s first pro fight.
“It’s very hard to describe. It’s a lot of emotions filled into one moment. All this hard work paid off, and here I am in the greatest promotion on the planet,” Petrino said at a post-event news conference.
“I knew the toughness of my opponent – he’s a tough guy. But I obviously just kept to the strategy. I knew he was going to come out guns blazing because of the fact it’s a rematch. But at the end of the day, it worked out. I kept the strategy, and it was one of the best fights of the night.”
Petrino said he wasn’t really concerned about his first win over Bellato – which came in just 25 seconds when he knocked him out in May 2019. This time, they each had more fights under their belts.
Petrino came in with four straight knockouts, including three in the first round, and he continued that streak in his rematch with Bellato.
“I wouldn’t say it was easier or harder,” he said. “What I would say is it was a challenge. When I fought him (the first time), I was 0-0. He was 5-0. It was my debut, and (nearly) four years ago. Four years between two people, I knew I was going to see a different (Bellato). He knew he was going to see a different me. All I had to do was thank him for the opportunity to be here and put on a great fight.”
Now Petrino said he wants to get his UFC career going with a little urgency.
“The earlier, the better,” he said. “I am ready. I am well-trained. Even though it was a war, I’m at 100 percent. I’m ready to go. I’d say I’m ready to go in December. Besides fighting in December, I have a dream of fighting in Brazil. So why not December, and at the end of January, as well. I’m ready. Whoever comes, I’ll face it. We do not choose opponents. We’re ready to put on a show for you guys.”
Check out the full interview with Petrino in the video above.