Shortly after knocking out Cameron VanCamp at UFC 274 last month in Phoenix, Andre Fialho was backstage telling media he was going to fight at UFC 275 in Singapore. As a member of said media, I have to confess, I was among several who didn’t really believe him.
Sure, we knew he wanted to fight in Singapore, and after a scant 2:35 of work that night, we knew he probably was in shape to do so. But with the event scheduled just five weeks away on the opposite side of the globe—and Fialho having already fought three times in 2022 by that point—it sounded more like wish-casting than reality.
We were all happy to be wrong.
Andre Fialho: A Full-Time Fighter | UFC 275
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Andre Fialho: A Full-Time Fighter | UFC 275
“I went to the back and talked to Dana White. I presented him my plan; what I want to do. He told me he’s going to make it happen.”
Really? It was that simple? Maybe more fighters should just tell White their “plan.”
“I’m in love with this company,” he smiles. “The way that everybody treats me, everything I’m asking, I’m getting. I’m just in love: traveling the world, getting paid and knocking people out. What else could I ask for?”
Armed with assurances that Singapore was in the cards, the Portugal native got right back to work.
“I got back into the gym. I’m trying to be smart, train smart. Not a lot of impact. Trying to stay healthy. I’m in shape already. I’ve been grappling and wrestling most of the time but, of course, I don’t forget about my boxing.”
But the training was less a short-notice turnaround regimen than standard practice for Fialho, who has trained constantly since an LFA loss back in 2020.
“I changed my life and I don’t do camps no more. I believe being like this and training like this is the only way I’m going to be the best. I changed my approach. I’m a professional now. I live this. I breathe this. This is what I do.”
You can’t argue with his formula for success. Since the lifestyle change, Fialho has finished all six of his wins by first- or second-round KO, making him a must-watch welterweight in UAE Warriors and eventually the UFC. His lone setback over that stretch was his short-notice UFC debut, a rare trip to the scorecards versus the dangerous Michel Pereira. Despite the loss, Fialho impressed under the bright lights, garnering a standing ovation from the UFC 270 crowd in Anaheim.
Saturday’s bow on the UFC 275 prelims will mark his third pay-per-view appearance in four UFC bouts, a testament to his crowd-pleasing abilities on the biggest of stages. Still, Fialho expresses doubt that his dance partner this time, veteran Jake Matthews, will match his own explosiveness.
“My coach was saying he’s probably the best opponent I’ve got [so far in UFC], but I believe Miguel Baeza was better…faster, quicker, sharper,” he says, referencing his April 22 bout in Las Vegas. “Great striker, amazing grappler.”
This time, 28-year-old feels the burden of putting on a show rests with him.
“I just believe Jake holds onto people. I don’t like that style of fighting. I don’t believe he can do that against me. It’s very hard to hold onto me like that. But we’ll see.”
To that end, the matchup has consumed him as he runs through the streets of Singapore with teammates Brendan Allen and Road To UFC Asia hopeful Tuco Tukkos.
“All I’ve been thinking and daydreaming about is putting Jake out. I don’t control it, it’s my brain. It’s my style. It’s the way I fight. I think my speed will be too much for Jake.”
Speed, both the literal and figurative varieties, are key descriptors of Fialho, who doesn’t revel in his own victories for more than a moment. Just like he was backstage in Phoenix, he’s quickly on to the next, and just six months into 2022, his plan for the year is already in striking distance.
“I wanted to fight six times this year. I said that in the beginning of the year. But if everything goes as I plan, I’ll hit six way before that and I’ll have time for maybe eight fights this year.”
“Hopefully, yeah,” he says casually. “I cannot tell you my plan, but after this fight, I’ll tell you the next step.”
UFC 275: Teixeira vs Procházka took place on Saturday, June 11, 2022, live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!