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Ultimate Fighting Championship pioneer and repeat heavyweight title challenger Pedro Rizzo weighed in on Jon Jones’ upcoming move to Rizzo’s old division.
Speaking to Sherdog on Wednesday night, Rizzo, the leader of the Brazilian MMA team Usina de Campeos RVT, went to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to corner two of his fighters. Both Douglas Silva de Andrade and Warlley Alves competed on UFC on ESPN 20 with varied results, as Silva de Andrade dropped a decision while Alves scored a knockout over Mounir Lazzez that made his coach proud.
“We are glad that Warlley was finally able to recover from a sequence of injuries and surgeries and show a great performance,” an elated Rizzo told Sherdog. “[The] first time he showed me that sequence of three quick [kicks] it was even hard to hold the pads, and I told him to invest [in] that, and we were happy that it worked. Warlley is evolving a lot lately, I’m confident that soon he will be back among the top 10 contenders of welterweight.”
When asked to choose winners in the two most important fights at UFC 257, the disciple of Marco Ruas made his bet on Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker.
“I believe Poirier added more techniques on his game since the first fight with Conor [McGregor], so I see him as favorite this time, but of course Conor’s left hand can decide the fight in one blink. Concerning Chandler and Hooker. I see Chandler as a better overall fighter, but I think Hooker’s distance control will complicate Chandler’s game plan. In addition, he is making his debut in UFC, so there is naturally more tenseness. My bet is Hooker.”
But when the subject turned to his original weight category, “The Rock” had no doubt to predict that Stipe Miocic will keep his belt against Francis Ngannou. Similarly, he expects Miocic will have no problem beating Jones.
“I think Ngannou will be a pretty tense fight, but Miocic has more tools to win again,” Rizzo claimed. “About Jones, he always had problems while facing opponents with long range, like [Dominick] Reyes and [Alexander] Gustaffson. He is arriving in a division where everybody has about the same range. The second point is that in this new division, his opponents have a lot of knockout power, and he doesn’t. Jones never knocked out anyone. That's why I see him going down to light heavyweight division soon.”