At Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123, Eryk Anders enters the octagon with quite a tough act to follow.
Anders kicked off his UFC run with an exclamation point back in July, when he knocked out veteran Rafael Natal less than three minutes into their UFC on FOX 25 encounter. The victorious debut was made all the more impressive by the fact that Anders not only stepped in on short-notice, but did so less than a month after capturing LFA’s 185-pound title.
Add to it that this all took place less than two years after his pro MMA debut, and one wouldn’t really fault Anders for dealing with some measure of nerves as he walked into the octagon for the first time.
So was he?
“No, not at all,” Anders told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve never been more calm, cool and collected. … I just felt really really good, top to bottom – physically and mentally.”
That statement, Anders says, encompasses an extensive athletic past that includes football, track and wrestling. But even if he did get nervous, it certainly didn’t show as he dismantled Natal in what we’d later find was the Brazilian grappling expert’s final MMA bout.
From a 34-year-old veteran on his way out in Natal, Anders is now set to welcome a 27-year-old on his way in when he faces Markus Perez (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Originally scheduled to meet vet John Phillips (21-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., Anders (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) got a fellow undefeated former LFA champ, instead.
It took some re-reouting, but Anders isn’t mad about the switch.
“You go from a guy like John Phillips who was a bruiser, super aggressive, coming forward – more of a boxer than anything else” Anders said. “Now I’m fighting a Brazilian. He’s real smooth. it almost looks like he’s dancing in there.
“He throws a lot of weird shots – not weird, but he’s not a very conventional fighter. Very slick jiu-jitsu. Definitely a game opponent. He’ll come forward. So I’m definitely looking forward to the matchup.”
In any case, it’s not like the opponent makes a difference in the plan.
“Regardless of the stage, the atmosphere, or the opponent, the objective is always the same,” Anders said. “To go out there and get a finish as early as possible and take the least amount of damage.
“I’m very confident in my preparation to go out there and get a victory. And finish him in that first round.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Eryk Anders looking for yet another first-round finish in UFC-Fresno's battle of unbeatens