Antonio Carlos Junior will not be shying away from the problem of taking up 2019 PFL champion Emiliano Sordi.
Carlos Junior (11-5) faces Sordi (23-8-1) at 2021 PFL Playoffs 3, which takes place Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. The primary card airs on ESPN2 following prelims on ESPN+.
The former “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3” winner acquired off to a robust begin to kick off his PFL tenure when he submitted Tom Lawlor within the first spherical in April. He then confronted one other ex-UFC fighter in Vinny Magalhaes, however the ending of the June contest was somewhat anticlimactic when an unintended groin strike by Carlos Junior rendered Magalhaes unable to proceed.
“I was extremely happy with my first fight in the PFL,” Carlos Junior informed MMA Junkie in his native Portuguese. “It was a great performance. I submitted Tom Lawlor. He’s very tough and difficult to put away. I won within the first round. My second bout with Vinny – it’s hard to judge. I can’t really gauge how much pain he felt at that moment. I just know that I felt great during the fight, up to that moment. I feel I was on my way to a win. I was confident during our striking exchanges.”
The six factors earned after submitting Lawlor have been sufficient for Carlos Junior to advance to PFL’s 2021 playoffs, and he’ll now face arguably the sternest take a look at within the division in Sordi, who completed 5 opponents within the 2019 PFL season en path to capturing the title.
“Emiliano is extremely tough,” Carlos Junior stated. “He’s the last season’s champion. He has a lot of good skills. He hits hard and has KO power, but he has shown some holes in his game. It’s my job to exploit that. The goal is to fight intelligently, to use my strong points, and to capitalize on his weak ones.”
In order to do this, Carlos Junior has been working with former UFC title challenger and knockout artist Thiago “Marreta” Santos to assist him put together for Sordi’s harmful type.
“My camp has been great,” Carlos Junior stated. “At American Top Team, I work with coaches Conan Silveira, Steve Mocco, ‘King Mo’ (Muhammed Lawal), Gabriel Oliveira, Mike Brown, etc. Everyone has been a great help. Our whole academy is full of top coaches as well as top fighters. I always look to work with fighters like Emiliano – with good boxing and takedown defense. I’ve been working with great guys like Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos.”