On Wednesday, March 31, Brazilian fighter Lucio “Spartan” Linhares (13-5, 0-1 UFC) will make his second trip to the Octagon to face top-ten ranked Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami (23-5, 7-2 UFC) at “UFC Fight Night 21″ at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C.
Lucio is an M-1 Global and M-1 Challenge veteran, and prior to joining the UFC had wins over such competitors as Karl Amoussou and Sean Salmon. He is a well-rounded fighter with 6 submissions, 3(T)KO’s, 4 decisions on his record.
Lucio was on a five-fight win streak before making his UFC debut against Rousimar Palhares at UFC 107 back in December. The newly-suspended Palhares did what he does best and submitted Lucio in the second round.
“Toquino” is a tough first fight for anyone, and unfortunately, Lucio’s next opponent won’t be any easier. ProMMAnow.com caught up with the “Spartan” on Monday to see how he feels having gotten that first fight behind him, and find how he plans to deal with the size and strength of Okami.
Hello Lucio. Thank you for taking time to speak with us at ProMMAnow.com. How have you been, and how are you feeling now just a couple days away from your fight with Yushin Okami at “UFC Fight Night 21”?
I feel great, only four pounds to make weight, this time I did it very well and came to USA only five pounds over. I am very confident for this fight.
Your last fight inside the Octagon, which was your UFC debut, was against Rousimar Palhares at UFC 107. Obviously, Rousimar is very dangerous on the ground. Could you give us your thoughts on that fight, and what you learned from it?
Well, the fight was good, obviously it could have been much better, (laughs) but I was a bit nervous in my debut, but no excuse, “Toquinho” is a great fighter and was better then me.
Did you see Rousimar’s fight this past weekend at UFC 111? He was suspended for 90 days because they said he did not release the submission fast enough. What is your opinion on that if you saw it? Do you think the suspension is fair?
I don’t think it was fair, sometimes the guy tap and the referee doesn’t see which create a very bad situation for the holder if he let it go, it is job of the referee to stop the fight.
That is exactly what I was thinking. Now you are fighting Yushin Okami on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. What is your opinion of Okami, and how do you see yourself matching up with him?
I think he has a great name, very well ranked in the world, he is tough but I think I match up well with him, I am exited for the fight and very confident.
Where do you feel Okami is most dangerous?
I think he is a complete fighter and good in everything, but best in take downs and ground and pound.
If you were Okami’s coach, what advice would you give him just before he walked into the cage with Lucio Linhares?
I don’t know, he has a very good ground so I don’t think he is very much worried about what I have to bring, but then that’s how I want to surprise him.
Where do you live Lucio, and what kind of things do you like to do when you aren’t training?
I live in Vitória Brazil, but spend mostly of my time traveling around Finland keeping BJJ seminars. When I am not teaching or training I am walking around, I like to read good books and just found out the advantages of the audio book, I walk a lot and enjoy listening to a good story, right now I am enjoying a sci fi saga called “Comomwealth” by Peter F. Hamilton, I am in the second and last book called “Judas Unchained”. If I am at home I like to watch movies and TV-shows, especially comedies.
What is one thing you could tell us about Lucio Linhares that the fans may not know?
Well, there is not much to tell about me, I am very easy going and enjoy tranquility.
Can you give us a prediction on the fight with Okami – how will this fight end?
No, you gonna have to watch the fight or I will give up my fight plan. (laughs)
Thank you Lucio for taking time to talk with us. We wish you the best of luck. Are there any sponsors you would like to thank, or do you have any shout outs?
Thank you. I would like to thank sponsors Hipko.fi, Saunasessio.com, Hitman, Hayabusa. My coaches from Brazil, Robson Vidal (boxing), Eduardo Jamelão (BJJ), Gustavo Carvalho (conditioning), Alexandre Caveira (wrestling) and from Finland Jarno Nurminen, Sami Harju, Petteri Maunu and everyone else who helped me in the sparring. Special thanks to Joseph Borges!