Vicente Luque will thrown down in a main event opposite Belal Muhammad later this evening (Sat., April 16, 2022) at UFC Vegas 51 live on ESPN/ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, but “Silent Assassin” is no stranger to big-time fights.
Luque, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the UFC’s welterweight division, has been fighting killers almost his entire career. Even before Luque stepped on set of The Ultimate Fighter or made his official debut inside of the Octagon he was competing against some of the best in the sport. What’s even more impressive is the fact that some of those matchups came at a weight class higher than 170 pounds.
One of the biggest wins of Luque’s young career came in a middleweight showdown with none other than Thiago Santos back in 2012. It was only the seventh fight of Luque’s career and one of the only times he’s competed at 185 pounds. As you may have imagined, Luque was pretty intimidated to be fighting someone as big as Santos, who is widely regarded as one of the more physically imposing middleweights (and light heavyweights) in recent memory.
Luckily for Luque, he was able to score a first-round TKO finish and avoid any serious damage at the hands of “Marreta.”
“So that was early in both of our careers, I was training and I got this fight on like three weeks’ notice, something like that,” Luque said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “We knew he was a striker and that’s why we took the fight, I’m a striker as well. Okay, three weeks but it’s a striker, it makes sense it’s going to be the same game. We go there after flying in and when I get to the city we are fighting in, I arrived late so I wasn’t able to weigh in and make the faceoff, so I weighed in with the commission and went back to the hotel and did my recovery.
“The only time I saw Thiago was at the moment of the fight. He wasn’t like how he is now but he was a big guy and I looked at him and was like ‘man what did I get myself into? it didn’t make sense.’ I thought I had to go in there and knock him out as quick as possible and not get hit and it worked out,” Luque continued. “I think it was like 15 seconds, 20 seconds, it was really quick. It was a big win that was a win later on when they were considering putting me on The Ultimate Fighter they saw I had that win and Thiago was already in the UFC, so it made sense. It was a big win in my career.”
As you may know, Santos went on to make his UFC debut just two fights later and did some great things inside of the Octagon, including fighting for the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title against Jon Jones. The Brazilian fighter has lost four out of his last five trips to the Octagon, but he’s one of the most vicious knockout artists of probably the past six years.
Luque, on the other hand, is still trying to fight his way to his first UFC title shot. It’s insane to think that “Silent Assassin” stopped Santos in his tracks so many years ago, but Luque is a bona fide tactician inside of the Octagon. He has finished his last four trips to the cage and will look to stop Muhammad again in their rematch later tonight at UFC Vegas 51.
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