Ian Heinisch weathered the early storm against Antonio Carlos Jr., and it paid off in the form of his second Ultimate Fighting Championship victory.
It wasn’t a great start for the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alum in the UFC Rochester co-main event, as Carlos Jr. landed multiple takedowns and threatened with a kimura in the early going. However, Heinisch continued to scramble out of danger against the grappling-minded Brazilian, and gradually his opponent wore down. In the end, “The Hurricane” relied on his conditioning and ground-and-pound to secure a unanimous decision triumph.
“I knew it was a close fight up to the third and we both had to dig deep. I wanted it more,” Heinisch said. “I had to grapple really hard. I was looking for that finish, but he’s pretty elusive. It was tough catching his chin. I dug deeper, out-grappled him and won the fight. I’m happy.
Carlos Jr. was relentless in attempting to take Heinisch’s back, but the Factory X representative was consistently able to escape serious danger. Heinisch credits his ability to stay patient once it become apparent that the bout was going to head to the scorecards.
“I envision a knockout in the first every time. I knew I had to be patient when he got my back,” he said. “I couldn’t be my explosive self. He’s a world champ on the mat and I’d get caught if I did. I had to be technical and patient. I let him wear himself out a bit and then came back.”
The former Legacy Fighting Alliance competitor has now won five consecutive bouts, a streak that also includes a three-round verdict over Cezar Ferreira in his Octagon debut. After ending Carlos Jr.’s five-fight UFC winning streak, Heinisch wants to continue ascending the middleweight rankings. He already has a couple potential foes in mind.
“I’m not impressed with Derek Brunson. I want to fight him. It would be a good wrestler versus wrestler fight, but hopefully we’d both just strike and see who’s better. Jack Hermansson is a good fight, too. He’s on the rise. If I beat him, I leapfrog the guys he’s beaten. That’d be a great fight for me.”