Houston’s “Hurricane” Ike Villanueva is set to head into battle at UFC Vegas 30 against Marcin Prachnio. The heavy-hitter appears to be peaking as he looks to build upon his blistering knockout victory back in January.
In this interview, the UFC light heavyweight delves into training camp, fatherhood, his new four-fight deal with the UFC, being fortunate enough to compete alongside his teammate and friend Daniel Pineda, and much more.
Ike Villanueva Interview
Villanueva and Pineda are longtime friends and teammates down in Texas. This weekend they’ll have the opportunity of showcasing their talents in the same event, with Pineda facing Andre Fili on the main card. Villanueva is eager to bring a Houston vs everybody mindset into UFC Vegas 30.
“Oh man it’s awesome bro,” he replied, “We did it in Bellator before, but to do it in the UFC, I mean the UFC is the mecca so it’s like a lifelong dream to go into battle with your best friend. Not just my best friend, but my teammate, my coach, my brother, and to have the whole fight team behind us – we’re coming out like the Diaz brothers bro! I’m freakin’ stoked. I know we’re at the APEX, but still man, we’re just two kids from Houston who came from nothing and we’re still gettin’ it done.”
There was a time when “Hurricane” had to work and train for fights simultaneously, but fighting now has his full attention. The diligent schedule that he currently keeps at both 4oz. Fight Club and Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai has him feeling in the best shape of his career.
“Man training camp has been freakin’ great,” Villanueva affirmed. “I’ve been training full time getting all my sessions in. I know what time I gotta be at 4oz., I know what time I gotta be at strength and conditioning, Main Street Boxing, and getting my recovery in. Man, I’m excited, I’m 37, but I’m like fine win man I get better with age. I love beating up on the young kids, but really I want my younger teammates to feed off me. I have such a great team behind me, without them I wouldn’t be nothin’, so I’m very thankful for where I’m at right now.”
As far as the specific matchup with Prachnio goes, Villanueva feels confident in every aspect. The 37-year-old respects his opponent, but that doesn’t take away from the confidence he’ll bring with him to the octagon at UFC Vegas 30.
“I’m looking to make it an ugly day for him man,” Villanueva stated. “I’m on a mission. Every fight I feel like I have things to prove and I’m looking forward to showing the world who I am. If he wants to go to the ground, let’s go there. It’s a chess match, if you go in there trying to rush the knockout it ain’t gonna happen, you gotta set s*** up. My striking and my aggressiveness will be the difference. Once you see him backing up you know it’s over.”
Ike Villanueva has dedicated over a decade of his blood, sweat, and tears into this sport and it’s all paying off. The light heavyweight cashed in on a new four-fight deal with the UFC, allowing him to feel more secure as he pursues his goals. He made a massive statement by knocking Vinicius Moreira out earlier this year.
“It was years of hard work paying off man,” Villanueva said, “People always telling me ‘you ain’t gonna make it’ and I finally shut those people up. The shot I landed on Moreira me and my team trained all camp, all quarantine, and it was just a dream come true. Especially since it happened in Abu Dhabi man, beautiful country, five-star hotel, that’s a lifelong memory that I’m very thankful for.”
It sounds like we are going to see the best version of Ike Villanueva when he takes on Marcin Prachnio at UFC Vegas 30. He’s a father with a drive to be successful in the sport that he loves.
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