The CES champion moves to LFA, another feeding ground for the UFC
It has been a while since we have seen the former Bellator and CES fighter in the cage. As it did for everyone, the pandemic stalled the momentum of the CES champion Vinicius de Jesus. Now he looks to find said momentum again. The worst part of the pandemic for de Jesus was the uncertainty, and being ready for anything to have his family safe.
“The hardest part for me was the beginning,” de Jesus told MyMMAnews. “The whole shut down and uncertainty of when we all could be on schedule again. As a father and husband, I took the time to take care of my family,” de Jesus continued. “All we did was prepare, because there was so much uncertainty.”
The uncertainty is done for de Jesus. He has accepted a fight for the currently vacant Welterweight title in LFA. Jaleel Willis, who stands at 12-2, a winner of his last three in a row, is the opponent. LFA has long been a feeding ground for the UFC. The Connecticut native hopes to join those ranks in the future.
“The whole plan was after the pandemic to fight for LFA” de Jesus told MyMMAnews. “We lost the momentum after the CES belt, we lost the eyes of the UFC so the plan was fight for another title. We have to do what we have to do to have the UFC’s eyes on us and with LFA we know they will watch.”
Many New England members have watched de Jesus for years and known he is a UFC talent. At 9-2 and a winner of four straight, de Jesus has never looked more ready for the UFC. The 30-year-old has also competed for Bellator, and holds a 3-1 record in the Bellator cage. When asked if Bellator could be a possibility, de Jesus wasn’t to pleased with the promotion.
“Bellator has reached out to me recently, offered a fight on a week notice,” de Jesus told MyMMAnews. “I said if I take this will I get a contract, multiple fights, no pre-lims again, and it didnt work out,” de Jesus continued. “I feel a little disrespected, but its a business I know that. I feel like they could give me the chance to shine on the main card, but I’ll do whats best for me now.”
As for what de Jesus believes is next for him? To become an LFA champion, and then get a call from Mr. Dana White himself.
“That is the plan, always been the plan,” de Jesus stated. “I’m ready for the call, the pandemic slowed things down, but I’m ready to get back the momentum. Willis will be looking for grappling, I hold an advantage in every aspect of MMA in this fight. This fight will be a statement, I’m making a statement.”
It is clear Vinicius de Jesus has his mind set on earning that coveted UFC roster spot, and he believes it has been a long time coming. De Jesus also cleared up the announcement for STF 23, a Florida promotion. He considered that a “warm up” to LFA, but the card was cancelled altogether. The plan remains the same for the standout prospect, LFA title, then the UFC.
LFA 88 takes place on August 21st, you can watch on UFC Fight Pass.
A Boston native, lover of sports (yes Boston Sports) and MMA. Covering the Northeast regional scene. A contributor with myMMAnews, Cageside Press and Fancied MMA