Whenever the UFC visits Brazil, expect plenty of local fighters and rowdy crowds. This weekend's card, which takes place at Sao Paulo's Ibirapuera Gymnasium, is no different.
14 Brazilians are scheduled to compete at UFC Sao Paulo, with one fight pitting two compatriots against each other. Luckily, newcomer Kaue Fernendes is not one of them, instead being welcomed by Marc Diakiese to open the event.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Fernandes is one of a class of burgeoning prospects to come from the famed Nova Uniao camp that has produced champions like Renan Barao and Jose Aldo. He is currently 8-1 as a professional, with all his fights coming in one of two promotions: Shooto Brasil and the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA).
His only professional defeat so far came at the hands of Luan Andre Souza, who took a unanimous decision from him at LFA 111 - his promotional debut. However, he rebounded with consecutive knockouts of Jose Arly Carvalho and Felipe Douglas to earn himself an opportunity inside the Octagon.
Marc Diakiese looking to spoil Kaue Fernandes' UFC debut
Diakiese, Fernandes' welcoming committee, was once himself considered an unmissable prospect after winning nine straight fights, which got him a UFC contract in 2016. But since then, he has been hit-and-miss.
After an impressive three-fight win streak that saw him finish two of those fights, he fell into an equally long skid, with the low point being a guillotine loss to Dan Hooker in the undercard of UFC 219.
Since then, he has had the following pattern: two straight wins, then two straight losses, then two straight wins again, then two straight losses again. All the wins in that stretch have come on the scorecards, while the second defeat in each slump has come by submission.
Defeating Fernandes, who has two more knockouts and submissions each in his win ledger, will not be easy for him.