주요 콘텐츠로 건너뛰기
Nikolas Motta of Brazil punches Cameron VanCamp in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Nikolas Motta Is Right At Home

Living In Las Vegas And Training Out Of Xtreme Couture Has Put Nikolas Motta In The Right Spot Heading Into UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier.

What a difference a big win makes.

Over the last several years, Nikolas Motta has made the rounds of the mixed martial arts world, searching for the perfect combination of location, coaching and training partners that would set him on his way to a lightweight championship in the UFC.

He may have found it in Las Vegas with the Xtreme Couture squad.

Saturday's Full Fight Card Preview | Main Event Preview

“Yeah, I think I'm staying in Vegas forever now,” laughed Motta, who gets a home game on Saturday when he faces Manuel Torres at the UFC APEX.

UFC Lightweight Nikolas Motta Reacts With Daniel Cormier After His TKO Victory Over Cameron VanCamp At UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song on September 17, 2022 (photo by Chris Unger/ Zuffa LLC)
UFC Lightweight Nikolas Motta Reacts With Daniel Cormier After His TKO Victory Over Cameron VanCamp At UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song on September 17, 2022 (photo by Chris Unger/ Zuffa LLC)

It’s the kind of joy that comes on the heels of victory, and when Motta rebounded from a stoppage loss to Jim Miller in February of last year to halt Cameron VanCamp in a single round seven months later, he could finally breathe. He had his first UFC victory out of the way, and it was time to move forward after implementing a powerful lesson.

“I think now it feels like it's time to stop fighting with my balls and fight with my head and use my experience,” he laughed when we spoke before the last fight. “I have a friend that says that's the Brazilian curse.”

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Check Out This Week's Fighters On The Rise

World-renowned kickboxer, and Motta’s current coach, Ray Sefo, helped with that part of the gameplan.

“I feel that I was fighting smarter, and I think a lot of that was from working with Ray Sefo,” said Motta. “He's a man of a lot of wisdom and a lot of times, fighting is more mental than physical, and I think he’s helping me a lot just by talking to me. At the same time, it's a little bit of pressure. Even all the fighters, I heard them saying that because he’s a little bit of a perfectionist but, at the same time, he's a great friend.”

UFC lightweight Nikolas Motta punches Cameron VanCamp in their bout at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
UFC lightweight Nikolas Motta punches Cameron VanCamp in their bout at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Well, there’s not much fault to be found in a win that took less than four minutes, and given the stage and the result, it was a moment Motta won’t forget, one that he’s been waiting to experience since he was on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 in 2015.

“I was dreaming and telling myself that one day I'm going to fight here and I'm going to win one UFC fight,” he said. “And that was the dream. I told myself that before I die I have to win a fight in the UFC. And even if it seemed so far, I did that in 2022. I finally made that dream happen, and my head didn't got big or nothing, but I was super happy. I was like, ‘It's okay, guys, it’s just a fight, nothing changed.’ But, at the same time, I felt like it was just the beginning.”

Dana White Announces Fights In Nashville, Singapore And Paris

It is. Motta got his win, he grabbed some ramen at his new favorite spot in Vegas, and began plotting some more victories. That starts with his clash with Mexico’s Torres, and folks are already circling this one on the fight card as a bout with clear bonus potential.

Nikolas Motta kicks Joe Lowry in their lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season four, week nine at UFC APEX on November 10, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)
Nikolas Motta kicks Joe Lowry in their lightweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series season four, week nine at UFC APEX on November 10, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC)

“The matchmakers know what they’re doing,” said Motta. “This is the type of fight that everyone would want to watch and that's why they put it on the main card. I saw that it was a main card fight and I know why because it's like two pit bulls fighting.”

Full UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 Roster Announced

So which pit bull bites first? Guess who Motta’s picking?

“I think it's a great fight for me,” he said. “I'm not saying it's an easy fight, but it's a very good match.”

UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Cannonier took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on June 17, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass