Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 265 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Vicente Luque’s latest assignment gives him another opportunity to move one step closer to earning his stripes as a legitimate title contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 21 graduate will face Michael Chiesa under the glare of the UFC 265 spotlight on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Luque, 29, carries the wind of a three-fight winning streak in his sails after recording consecutive victories over Niko Price, Randy Brown and former champion Tyron Woodley. He last appeared at UFC 260, where he submitted Woodley with a brabo choke in the first round of their March 27 pairing.
Ahead of Luque’s high-stakes battle with Chiesa, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He rose out of the shadows of Lady Liberty.
Luque was born to a Brazilian mother and Chilean father in Westwood, New Jersey, a borough of roughly 11,000 people located just 27 miles north of New York.
2. His dues were paid early.
“The Silent Assassin” made his professional mixed martial arts debut at the age of 17 on June 27, 2009, when he cut down Andre Playboy with punches in the first round of their pairing under the Fight Club 300 banner in Brasilia, Brazil. Luque went 3-2-1 in four appearances as a teenager, his wins over Playboy, Pedro Borges dos Santos and Darlan Almeida offset by a draw with Rodrigo Medeiros and losses to Felipe Portela and Marcos Antonio Santana.
3. He wields devastating weaponry.
Luque has delivered 18 of his 20 (90%) career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission, 12 of them in the first round. His offensive potency followed him from the regional scene to the UFC, where he has taken out Woodley, Hayder Hassan, Hector Urbina, Belal Muhammad, Chad Laprise, Jalin Turner and Derrick Krantz inside of five minutes.
4. He flies under the radar despite his exploits inside the Octagon.
Splitting his training between the Cerrado MMA outfit in Brazil and the Sanford MMA camp in Florida, Luque has posted 13 wins as a UFC welterweight. That ties him with Demian Maia and Robbie Lawler for fourth on the promotion’s active list at 170 pounds behind only Neil Magny (18), Matt Brown (16) and current champion Kamaru Usman (14).
5. Violent tendencies have brought him beefed-up paychecks.
Luque has pocketed seven post-fight bonuses across his 16 appearances in the UFC. He has been awarded “Fight of the Night” on four occasions and “Performance of the Night” three times, resulting in $350,000 of additional income. Luque owns a 6-1 record in those bouts.