After having his co-main event bout changed just five days prior to fight night, Vicente Luque remains positive.
Initially set to take on Neil Magny, Luque (15-6-1) soon looked as though he may not even fight this weekend in Rochester. A USADA test failure pulled Magny from proceedings and while the UFC veteran maintains his innocence, Luque’s plans were swiftly changed as a result. Nonetheless, he remains on the ESPN+ event, now taking on UFC newcomer Derrick Krantz.
While yet to enter the octagon, Krantz (22-10) is certainly not without experience, making his MMA debut over a decade ago. On paper, ‘The Silent Assassin’ suddenly appears to be in an ominous position but publicly at least, he remains unfazed. “It’s going to be a good thing. Staying active is important for me,” he told reporters at this week’s open workouts.
“Going in there and showing what I can do is important for me. It’s one more opportunity to show the fans, show the UFC what I’m capable of doing. That’s always positive. Going in there and getting a win, it’s going to be good for me.”
Luque’s confidence is impressive and perhaps not misplaced either, with the surging welterweight citing his own experience with short-notice opportunities. “I have experience fighting short notice so the change isn’t bad for me. I look to impose my will and force my game, so the opponent is not what really matters. What matters is what I’m going to do that night . . . I put in so much work for this camp, (and) I’m so ready.”
As you’d expect, Luque is indeed the betting favorite and for good reason regardless of opponent. With four straight wins and a 100% finish ratio inside the octagon, Luque is a rising contender and with a full training camp behind him, he looks likely to continue that form this weekend in Rochester.
Fightful will have live coverage of Luque’s fight with Krantz as well as a post-show podcast review of the whole show too. The event airs on ESPN+.