Sterling, who recently lost his bantamweight title to Sean O’Malley, predicts a rough night in the cage for the Brazilian.
“I think Rob Font is going to shut the lights off Figueiredo,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel. “I think Figueiredo’s going to be a little bit too small, man. Even standing next to him in person, I think Figueiredo’s going to have the speed advantage, but I think once Font closes the distance with his teeps, his long push kicks, and then uses that long jab, cuts off the cage where he’s kind of creeping towards you, long jab, and he creeps, stays in front of you, I think he’s going to be able to find those big hooks that he throws. Boom, uppercut, and I think that’s going to be the fight.
“But Figueiredo, obviously a former world champion, I think he’s going to make it interesting. But I still think the size is going to play a factor. Maybe he is big enough for 135, but the last time I saw him, he was cutting down to 125, so he looked a little bit smaller to me. So we’ll see how he looks physically when he’s making that jump up to 135. He ain’t muscular, but he cuts a lot of weight.”
Figueiredo reacted to Sterling’s comments on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast.
“No one is unbeatable in this division, right?” Figueiredo said. “Aljamain Sterling saw on his last fight, ‘Suga’ touched his head and he went down. There’s caution in every fight. Rob Font can put me to sleep as much as I can put him to sleep, you know? It’s two heavy trucks colliding. I have the heart of a lion, and rest assured that I’m going in there to give my best.”
The one thing Figueiredo and Sterling agree on is that speed is on the former flyweight’s side versus Font, who enters the cage looking to rebound from a loss to Cory Sandhagen.
Yet size might not be such a factor.
“I’ll have more speed, and I’m going to be healthier. I don’t think I’m too small for the division,” said Figueiredo, who stands at 5-foot-5, slightly shorter than the 5-foot-7 Sterling and Sterling’s 5-foot-6 teammate, Merab Dvalishvili. (Font is three inches taller than the Brazilian with similar reach advantage.)
“I stood next to Aljamain Sterling once, and he’s just a bit bigger than me,” Figueiredo continued. “I’ve been next to his friend, Merab, and he’s short next to me. Merab was shocked when he saw me. He even said I was fat, and I was that day. A guy that cuts that amount of weight to make 125 has to be very professional. He saw I’m not small for the division.”
Figueiredo respects Font as an opponent and anticipates an electric stand-up battle inside the Target Center in Minneapolis.
“There’s no doubt that I love to strike,” he said. “It’s going to be three rounds of non-stop action. The fight can end at any moment, because on one side you have someone strong, and I’m standing on the other side, a guy that likes danger. I’m not underestimating Rob Font, he’s tough and has taught the best, but so have I [at flyweight].”
This article was originally published on www.mmafighting.com