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Ismael Bonfim of Brazil poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC 283 event at Jeunesse Arena on January 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Ismael Bonfim Is Looking To Impress

Brazilian Lightweight Aims To Bounce Back Into The Win Column With Another Dominant Win In Rio de Janeiro

It's every fighter's dream to make the walk to the Octagon in their country and get their hand raised in front of their home crowd, and that's exactly what Ismael Bonfim intends to do this Saturday. 

"Marreta" has already left a lasting impression in the UFC with his dynamic performances. Despite experiencing both victory and defeat in his two UFC appearances, Bonfim remains determined to carve out his place in the lightweight division.

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"It's an amazing feeling. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling at home in Rio. My home is an hour-and-a-half flight from here," Bonfim tells UFC.com, reflecting on his debut in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 283, where he secured an impressive round two knockout victory against Terrance McKinney and won a bonus on the same night. This electrifying start fueled his motivation as he prepares to fight once again in Rio.

But the journey of a fighter is not without its setbacks. 

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Bonfim candidly admits to learning from his mistakes, particularly after his defeat against rising star Benoit Saint Denis his last time out at UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs Magomedov last July, where he suffered a submission defeat. 

"As I've been saying, I always try to learn when I make a mistake. Against Benoit Saint Denis, I made a lot of mistakes. We've made some decisions so we can perform well on Saturday." 

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One such setback was missing weight for his initially scheduled fight against Vinc Pichel at UFC São Paulo. Despite the setback, Bonfim recognizes Pichel's experience and skill in the Octagon.

"Vinc Pichel is a veteran in the division. He deserves all the respect in the UFC. My training was based on this. I'll get there. I'll impose my game," he affirmed, highlighting his preparation for the upcoming challenge.

Ismael Bonfim of Brazil punches Benoit Saint Denis of France in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Ismael Bonfim of Brazil punches Benoit Saint Denis of France in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on July 01, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Meanwhile, this marks Pichel's return to the Octagon after a two-year hiatus. His last fight was at UFC 273, where he suffered a defeat against Mark O. Madsen. Despite his age of 41, Pichel is renowned for his durability, having only been finished twice in his 17-fight professional career. He remains a formidable opponent, especially when dictating the pace and pressing forward aggressively.

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As Bonfim looks forward to UFC 301, where he will share the card with his childhood inspiration, José Aldo, he reflects on the support of his team. "We have our own team now, which is the Bonfim Brothers. My brother helped me a lot in my camp. So, my camp was excellent." He expressed, acknowledging the support that fuels his drive for success.

Bonfim's dedication to his craft is evident as he promises an electrifying performance against Pichel.

Ismael Bonfim of Brazil reacts after his knockout victory over Terrance McKinney in a lightweight fight during the UFC 283 event at Jeunesse Arena on January 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC)
Ismael Bonfim of Brazil reacts after his knockout victory over Terrance McKinney in a lightweight fight during the UFC 283 event at Jeunesse Arena on January 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC)

"I believe this fight won't go to the judges' scorecards. I think I'll knock him out or finish him. I assure you. And in the first round," he confidently declares, hinting at a renewed focus and determination.

With his brother Gabriel also on the UFC roster, Bonfim's journey is not just about personal success but about shared dreams and mutual support. "We both dream of being champions, so we are always encouraging each other to get closer to our goal," he said, highlighting the bond that drives them forward.

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In the face of challenges and setbacks, Ismael Bonfim intends to remain resilient, fueled by the support of his team, the dreams of his youth, and a relentless determination to succeed. As he steps into the Octagon once again, he promises a new and improved version of himself, ready to leave it all on the canvas and seize victory. 

"You'll see a new Ismael ‘Marreta’ on Saturday."

UFC 301: Pantoja vs Erceg took place live from Farmasi Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 4, 2024. See the Final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!