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Midnight Mania! UFC Vegas 78 headliner Vicente Luque talks coming back from brain hemorrhage: ‘Better than 100%’

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If you’re a little bit nervous about UFC Vegas 78’s headlining match between Vicente Luque and Rafael dos Anjos, which is scheduled to go down this weekend (Sat., Aug. 12, 2023) at the UFC Apex, you’re probably not alone. Luque has been on the sidelines for about a year now, and the reason for his layoff is simple: he suffered a brain hemorrhage in his loss to Geoff Neal last summer. That’s a scary diagnosis, far from a common MMA injury.

The No. 10-ranked Welterweight spent much of that time getting tested and working to get cleared to compete again. Finally, he’s allowed to fight once more, and Luque believes that he’ll be back better than ever.

“That was definitely unfortunate, but I was 100 percent blessed to be able to recover very well,” Luque said during Thursday’s media event (transcription via MMAJunkie). “Since the first day, right after the fight when I got the news, they did all the testing, all the exams and everything went well. My body was recovering.

“Then the UFC, my manager Ali Abdelaziz, they were always with me in this process trying to get the best information for me to make sure I was going to get fully recovered and be able to compete. Now I’m back and 100 percent. I would even say I’m better than 100 percent. I feel a much better fighter than I was before. I’m definitely blessed.”

Though Neal was the first man to knock out Luque, the Brazilian is known for getting in wars. He’s taken serious damage numerous times, like in his fights with Bryan Barberena, Mike Perry, and Niko Price. He may have won all of those contests, but Luque has never been known for his defensive acumen.

Perhaps that changes this weekend? According to Luque, he’s now more cautious with his sparring intensity, and the result is more technical work and improvement.

“Even the way I spar has changed,” Luque said. “It’s much more technical and I know how to work in a way where I’m not getting into brawls in sparring anymore. Also, being with the team at Kill Cliff, there are so many high-level guys that they know how to respect that. We push hard physically cardio, but we don’t need to be hitting each other and hurting each other.”

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 80 On ESPN+

NEW SCHOOL VS. OLD SCHOOL LIGHTWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Oct. 7, 2023, with surging 155-pound contender, Grant Dawson, taking on inimitable Octagon veteran, Bobby Green, in the ESPN+-streamed main event. In UFC Vegas 80’s co-main event, Joe Pyfer looks to continue his meteoric Middleweight rise at the expense of Abdul Razak Alhassan’s expense.

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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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