Las Vegas, NV (USA) – If Urijah Faber is the Tyreke Evans of the lighter weight classes, you can expect that “The California Kid” will be looking to hit the game-winning shot when he faces Raphael Assuncao at ARCO Arena on Sunday night.
An explosive, speedy fighter who is considered among the best 145-pounders in the world, Faber (22-3) has his sights set on reclaiming the featherweight title. And while many believe a Faber win this weekend would lead to a mega-fight with champion Jose Aldo, the 30-year-old Sacramento native isn’t thinking that far ahead just yet.
“Jose Aldo, without a doubt, has proven that he’s the champ right now,” Faber said. “So that’s the guy I’ve got to beat. But before then, I’ve got a very tough opponent in Raphael. I don’t want to get too excited about fighting Aldo yet because I’ve got another hard-headed Brazilian to try to throw around on Jan. 10.”
It’s probably best that Faber’s sole focus is on Assuncao, because if Faber is Sacramento Kings’ star Tyreke Evans, Assuncao is Los Angeles Lakers’ stud Ron Artest. A staunch defender with a relentless approach, the 27-year-old is among the most dangerous grapplers in the game. While the native of Recife, Brazil is often soft-spoken, he doesn’t mince his words when it comes to his desire to beat Faber and earn a world title shot.
“Urijah deserves to be where he is at in this sport,” Assuncao said upon arriving in his opponent’s hometown earlier this week. “But I didn’t get lucky in getting here either. I’ve fought my way all the way up to co-main event status. I’m ready to prove that I’m the best in the world in this weight class.”
With the anticipation for the Faber-Assuncao clash growing, WEC officials aren’t surprised that both men are eyeing a future shot at the world title. Thus, WEC officials have flown champion Aldo in from his native Brazil to sit cageside for the event and get a look at perhaps the first challenger to his throne.
“Jose wanted to be here in the worst way,” Harris said. “He wants to see Faber and Assuncao first hand and get a look at two fighters that want his belt. With that said, the energy at ARCO Arena on Sunday night is going to be amazing. Urijah Faber and Raphael Assuncao are going to war to determine which fighter is more worthy of a title shot. This could be one for the record books.”
Bud Light® presents Varner vs. Henderson will be televised nationally live on VERSUS beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. All of the network’s live WEC events are presented in HD and Spanish language SAP where available. For more information and how to find VERSUS in your local viewing area, visit http://www.versus.com/findversus.