This weekend, the UFC returns to ABC for only the second time as Kevin Holland steps in on late notice to fight Marvin Vettori. Sasha Palatnikov saw his dreams become a reality as he defeated DWCS veteran, Louis Cosce in his UFC debut. The Hong Kong native, the first in the UFC, is stepping back in the cage this weekend against Impa Kasanganay.
“This has been a very long term project of mine,” Palatnikov explained. “Being in the UFC, I’ve envisioned for 10 years. I ran into people who really believed in me, and put me on the right path.”
It was not the easiest of roads for the Hong Kong native, Palatnikov explains the trials and tribulations of the lifestyle. A surgery kept him from action, forcing him to turn to alternative motives to make a living, including being an Uber driver.
“March 2020, I had knee surgery,” Palatnikov told MyMMANews. “I was driving Uber and delivering food. Wasn’t sure when my next fight was going to be, I was in a crossroads. I knew what I had, I knew what I was capable of, but up to that point I was a one man show,” Palatnikov stated. “I’ve been competing since the age of 6, I love fighting, there was no question ever if this was really what I wanted to do. Even if I wasn’t in the UFC, I would do everything in my power to compete.”
Palatnikov’s second UFC opponent will also be a veteran of the Contender Series (DWCS), Impa Kasanganay. Impa was undefeated but tasted his first defeat in highlight reel fashion to Joaquin Buckley, this is something Palatnikov feels this won’t affect the Contender Series veteran but questions the weight drop as Kasanganay is moving down from middleweight to welterweight for this bout.
“The guys never fought at 170 in his whole career,” Palatnikov mentioned. “He’s been in the fight game a short amount of time but don’t get me wrong he’s powerful, athletic, unpredictable. It’s his first loss, It’s going to give him added motivation to be a better version of himself,” Palatnikov continued. “At the same time, he is lean and never fought at 170 before, someone who questions if they belong in a weight class or not, I play that as an advantage. I feel like it’ll be a difficult night for Impa.”