Rodolfo Bellato’s moment has finally arrived. The 27-year-old Brazilian light heavyweight is on the brink of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut.
He’s set to face Ihor Potieria in the UFC on ESPN 52 undercard. The match will take place this Saturday at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Bellato, a former interim Legacy Fighting Alliance champion, is riding a three-fight winning streak.
He’s not just aiming for a win. Bellato wants to build even more momentum. “I expect a great and memorable win against another aggressive fighter,” he shared with Sherdog.com.
He’s not promising a victory, but he’s sure of one thing. “There’s no way for our fight to be boring. I never promise a victory, but I can guarantee that I will always give my best and put on a show.”
Bellato earned his place in the UFC roster last October. He defeated Murtaza Talha Ali with second-round punches during Week 9 of Dana White’s Contender Series. After securing his spot, he went back to training almost immediately.
He’s been working with the Knockout Squad in his native Brazil. Additionally, he spent time training with Glover Teixeira and Alex Pereira, the former and current champions at 205 pounds, in Connecticut. “They’ve been a big help,” Bellato said. “I’ve learned a lot from them.”
Potieira, his upcoming opponent, seems to be a fitting first test. The Ukrainian holds a 1-2 record in the promotion. His UFC 283 technical knockout of Mauricio Rua was sandwiched by losses to Nicolae Negumereanu and Carlos Ulberg.
Bellato respects his opponent. “He deserves respect,” he said. “He’s 20-4. That’s nearly twice as many fights as I have. I feel he matches up very well with me. We’ll deliver what the UFC likes—an electrifying fight where if you blink, you’ll miss it.”
If Bellato defeats Potieira, he might set his sights on Vitor Petrino next. Petrino is the only man to have defeated him. In their rematch on DWCS in 2022, Petrino wiped him out with punches in the second round.
Despite the defeat, Bellato has a good relationship with Petrino. “He’s doing very well in the UFC,” Bellato said. “I root for him. We follow each other on social media. He’s a humble, hardworking warrior. He deserves what he’s accomplished, but I already told him I’ll beat him one day. Our trilogy will happen at the right moment, hopefully as a main event. I’d like to beat him at least once.”
For now, Bellato is focused on his upcoming match. “I plan on a great win so I can impress the boss and keep growing in my weight class,” he said. “I’m very happy, and I’m looking forward to the first of many bouts in the UFC.”