Rodrigo Nascimento: Adapting to Challenges

Rodrigo Nascimento, former American Top Team player, aims to consolidate his position in the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight category. He is set to rematch Don’Tale Mayes in a UFC Fight Night 231 attraction event scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Throughout his UFC career, Nascimento has seen diverse outcomes including three victories, one defeat, and one no contest resulting from a failed drug test. He states, “I learned a lot about staying focused. That’s how life is—highs and lows all the time. I’ll show that I’m a different kind of fighter. I’ve had highs and lows, but that’s OK. I’ve learned a lot.”

Nascimento’s first match against Mayes happened at UFC on ESPN 8, where he defeated the Bronx Hill MMA fighter with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their May 16 bout. He insists that he will be facing a much-changed opponent this time around. Mayes, who is 31 years old, holds an impressive 3-1 mark with one no contest in his five matches since his defeat against Nascimento. Mayes’ most recent fight was on June 3, where he triumphed over Andrei Arlovski with second-round strikes at UFC on ESPN 46.

Nascimento argues that Mayes has evolved considerably. “He’s a different fighter nowadays. He’s heavier and stronger. He’s more experienced, without any doubt. Having said all that, I’m also different now. I’ve also evolved. I’m no longer just a jiu-jitsu guy. I can get and defend takedowns. I can strike. I can get people to the ground. I’m a complete fighter today,” he says.

The 30-year-old Nascimento is confident about the plans that his trainers have drafted for Mayes. As per his statement, “We’re not training especially for Don’Tale. We simply work on my best abilities. Of course, no facet is neglected. Watching his tape, we saw that he’s been adding new skills. So have we.” Approaching the challenge on the back of consecutive wins, Nascimento’s last fight at the UFC Fight Night 223 saw him secure a narrow victory over Ilir Latifi on May 20 through split decision. However, Nascimento acknowledges the importance of overcoming Mayes first to achieve his goals. He adds, “My plan is to beat my opponent, renew my contract in a good way and to make more money. I hope my next opponent is ranked. After I win, I’ll call someone out. I already have someone in mind.”

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