Antonio Carlos Junior is ready and set for his first PFL playoff season.
After a successful debut via a vintage first-round submission against Tom Lawlor, “Shoeface” took on a fellow BJJ blackbelt in Vinny Magalhaes. Once again Carlos Junior left the office early, but unfortunately due to an accidental groin strike that rendered the fight a no contest.
“I’m not really thinking about [a rematch],” Carlos Junior told MyMMANews. “Vinny actually didn’t do very well, he didn’t make the weight in his first fight, the second fight with me was a little weird. I don’t think about that, we know each other. There’s no bad things between us. I just focus on the semifinals and the finals. Let’s go to the future, let’s think forward.”
Carlos Junior entered into the PFL off the heels of a UFC run as a top-ranked middleweight and winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3. Wildly, the Joao Pessoa native won that season as a heavyweight.
Dropping three in a row to end his time in the UFC, Carlos Junior admits that going back up in weight was considered.
“I was thinking about going up but I was like, I’m already here at middleweight, I’ll try a little more,” he said. “I think it was a big mistake. I know my fights were pretty close with everybody. I even think the fight with Uriah Hall, I won the fight. It is what it is, I’m really happy here in the PFL. It actually was a fresh start. I’m feeling really good here, it’s a good environment.
“I said that in the past the UFC changed a lot since they sold, the Reebok stuff happened, and you know, some things were weird. In PFL, I think it’s been better for me. I like the tournaments. You win, you go to the next one. In UFC, it doesn’t happen that way.”
The change in divisions is believed by “Shoeface” to be a big difference in his performance — so far the evidence is there. Now he’ll need to show up more than ever as the million-dollar grand prize is within grasp with only two fights remaining.
To kick off the 2021 PFL light heavyweight playoffs, Antonio Carlos Junior is tasked with the last season’s champion, Emiliano Sordi on August 27.
“He’s a tough guy,” Carlos Junior said. “We trained a little bit back in 2014 I think when I was in Brazil. He’s a nice guy, we got a good relationship, we know each other. He’s a former champion so he’s a pretty good fighter, hits hard. I need to be careful, do the right stuff, right strategy. But what I’ve seen in his last two fights, he made some mistakes and if that happens in my fight I will not let it go. I want to get the submission or the knockout.”
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.