Brazilian mixed-martial-arts veteran Rubenilton Pereira faces undefeated Russian rising star Roman Bogatov (6-0-0), September 29, for the vacant M-1 Challenge 97 lightweight title, headlining M-1 Challenge 97 / TATFIGHT 7 in Kazan, Russia.
Pereira (20-5-0, M-1: 4-2-0) has won his last four fights, including a technical knockout in his last action, also at M-1 Challenge 94 last June, when Oktom Baktybek was unable to continue to fight after the opening round. Pereira’s two M-1 Global losses have been to a pair of M-1 Challenge champions, Damir Ismagulov and Alexander Butenko, both by decision.
Pereira recently entered The Rage to answer a few questions of interest:
How do you feel about this title shot and not getting a rematch against Ismagulov?
RP: “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to fight for the title. I have been working hard to receive my title shot and, of course, I was hoping to have a rematch with the champ, Damir Ismagulov. I was surprised when they told me Ismagulov left the belt vacant to sign with the UFC. I’m happy for him. He is a great fighter and I know he can become the UFC champion, too”.
How do you feel about fighting in M-1 Global?
RP: “I enjoy fighting in M-1 Global and I’d like to stay here for a long time. They’ve treated me really good. Now, I’m on a four-fight winning streak, but I was not that successful when I first joined the promotion. After two losses in a row I thought they were going to send me home, but they gave me another chance and I seized it.
How do you effectively drop nearly 50 pounds from your walk-around weight to fight as a lightweight?
RP: “I have no special secret. I just train hard, three times a day, Sunday to Sunday. Usually, I weigh around 92 kg (203 lbs), but I never miss weight and always make 70 kg (154 lbs) for the weigh-ins. Some think this is a huge advantage for me in the fight but, trust me, I suffer much more than anybody to make weight.”
What do you know about your next opponent, Roman Bogatov?
“Roman Bogatov is a tough opponent. Maybe he has better wrestling and takedowns, but I’m a much better grappler. I’m self-confident and know that I can tap him out. If he takes me down, that’s better for me. I had a great camp and I'm ready for five rounds, but one of us will fall before round three.”