Ante Delija started his current PFL run as an unlikely player to follow through the way that he has.
In his last fight before returning to the PFL for their 2021 season, Delija scored a notable win over Oli Thompson in his home of Croatia for KSW. It was the perfect springboard into the heavyweight tournament.
However, Brazil’s Bruno Cappelozza had other plans.
Delija suffered a quick 46-second knockout loss to his fellow RIZIN alum but managed to work his way to a shot at redemption for a rematch in the million-dollar championship bout on Oct. 27.
“I was hoping for it,” Delija told MyMMANews of the rematch with Cappelozza. “This is a really big opportunity for me and this is a really big motivation and I’m really looking forward to this fight.
“It’s a real fight with Bruno. He had his moments [the first time], I had my bad moment, and I think that it’s going to be a really different fight. Bruno always fights the same and this is the only way he knows.”
The 31-year old Mirko Cro Cop protege admits that being in the finals does feel like a big moment – though his upset win over Denis Goltsov in the semifinals holds a special place in his heart.
Moving forward, Ante Delija looks to continue doing his best to replicate the same success his mentor had and bring glory to the nation in the process.
“Croatia is a really small country,” Delija said. “It’s not even four million people. Being here at this high level, it’s a really, really big thing for my country.
“It was a really good season. At the beginning, they had really huge names like [Fabricio] Werdum and I’m really happy to be here. I’m not surprised he didn’t make it because fighters at PFL are some of the best fighters in the world and they can match any other world-class fighters.”
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.