Vinicius Moreira is still on Modestas Bukauskas’ mind following his UFC debut win.
Moreira was replaced by Andreas Michailidis after the Brazilian withdrew from the bout after testing positive for COVID-19. Bukauskas finished Michailidis via TKO in the opening round at UFC on ESPN 13 on Wednesday, July 15.
Now 1-0 inside the octagon, Bukauskas is turning his attention back to Moreira.
“If it could happen next, I would like to take that fight next,” Bukauskas said.
“If I had that fight booked, I might as well go and have that fight again, I feel like I would be very well prepared.”
The late change favored Bukauskas who likes to stand and strike. Michailidis is another fighter who also earned most of his victories on the feet.
Bukauskas spent most of his camp training for anyone, focusing his training on improving his game. Once he signed to fight Moreira, he put an emphasis on his jiu-jitsu and takedown defense.
The 26-year old would hate for his preparation to go to waste, making a bout with Moreira all the more sensible.
“I was literally just trying to prepare and trying to up my skill set in every area already,” Bukauskas said. “The only thing that added the layer was that this guy [Michailidis] was way more well rounded than my last opponent and that I knew it would be more of a striking exchange. Striking is my forte.”
Moreira or someone else
Bukauskas handled the late opponent change like a veteran, even earning a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus. The Lithuanian-born fighter landed vicious elbows to Michailidis near the end of the first round.
Bukauskas made his way to the stool, but Michailidis never did. The referee eventually called the bout in between rounds.
“It showed me how to handle the situations better, I learned as well that I need to throw more of my devastating strikes earlier,” Bukauskas said. “I think in future fights you can expect to see the flamboyant side I know I can do, will come out a little earlier.”
Bukauskas is nursing a case of bursitis in his knee, which started about two weeks before his octagon debut. The Brit plans to make a full recovery in less than two weeks.
Bukauskas is looking to return to “Fight Island” for one of the UFC’s upcoming events in September or October.
Roman Dolidze is another name who interests Bukauskas. Dolidze made his octagon debut at UFC on ESPN+ 30 on July 18, beating Khadis Ibragimov via first-round TKO.
Bukauskas is not taking too much time to enjoy his debut win, already looking forward to competing again. Whether it is Moreira, Dolidze or anyone else at light heavyweight, Bukauskas is ready to work his way up the division.
“There’s a lot of guys who are now stepping up in the ranks, making a name for themselves. These are the guys you are going to have to fight,” Bukauskas said. “Create the buzz, create the noise and then go out and perform.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.