UFC welterweight contender Vicente Luque, currently ranked No. 5 at 170 pounds, has an opportunity to blast his way into a division title shot with a victory over No. 6-ranked Belal Muhammad in the UFC Vegas 51 main event this Sat. night (April 16, 2022) inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That said, we still don’t know when reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his 170-pound title against longtime rival Leon Edwards, so Luque may find himself on the bench for an extended period of time. Or “The Silent Assassin” could fight Colby Covington if “Chaos” spoils the rise of Khamzat Chimaev.
“I think the big thing is for me to get a big performance on Saturday,” Luque told reporters at the UFC Vegas 51 media day (via MMA Junkie). ”It’s not going there and securing a win. I got to get a big one and from there we can see. Maybe I can jump straight to the title depending on what goes on in the division. But I’m a fighter, I love to fight. And if I need one more, I’ll be ready, and I’ll fight anybody up there. So Khamzat, Colby, whoever they want to put in front, we’ll see. But first, I got to go past Belal. If not, there’s no after that.”
Luque captured a first-round knockout victory over Muhammad when they first went to war at the UFC 205 pay-per-view (PPV) event back in late 2016. Since then, “The Silent Assassin” (21-7-1) is 10-2 with nine finishes while “Remember the Name” (20-3) is 10-1 with one No Contest and one finish.
Expect the Brazilian to remain in a holding pattern — win or lose — until the two fights above his (Usman vs. Edwards and Covington vs. Chimaev) get settled. Then again, a late injury or failed contract negotiation could open the door for something much sooner, a fact not lost on the underdog Muhammad.
For the rest of the UFC Vegas 51 fight card and ESPN lineup click here.