With back-to-back UFC wins, Chris Camozzi believes he's starting to hit his stride.
The middleweight welcomes Luiz Cane to 185 pounds on Saturday at UFC 153. It'd be easy to presume Cane to have a home-cage advantage in his native Brazil. But Camozzi said he's excited for the opportunity to make the journey.
UFC 153 takes place at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook. Camozzi (17-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Cane (12-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) fight on the Facebook prelims.
"It took me about two seconds to decide when my manager called me," Camozzi recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMAjunkie.com Radio | MMAjunkie.com
). "Right when he finished saying, 'They want you to fight Luiz Caen in Rio,' I said, 'Yeah, let's do it. Absolutely.'"
Camozzi, though, seems to have a little more in mind than just moving to an impressive 5-2 as a UFC middleweight with three straight in 2012.
Camozzi's thinking about an extra paycheck.
"I've seen Luiz fight a few times. He's a good, aggressive fighter and he's going to come to fight, which is going to make it exciting and give me a better chance of winning a bonus," Camozzi said.
Of Camozzi's 17 wins, he's nearly got an equal split of decisions, knockouts and submissions. But his last two wins have come by stoppage, and make no mistake – he'd prefer to end things quickly against Cane if he's going to get one of those bonus checks.
"I'd love 'Knockout of the Night' or 'Submission of the Night' before 'Fight of the Night.' Usually, 'Fight of the Night' goes three rounds, and I'm not expecting this fight to go three rounds," he said. "I like his aggressive style, and I think I've trained accordingly. I have a good game plan going into this – I think I can end it inside the distance."
Cane will be fighting for the first time in more than a year when he steps in against Camozzi on Saturday. And he returns in a bit of a desperate situation.
Cane has lost three of his past four fights – all by first-round TKO. His lone win since a 3-1 start in the UFC three and a half years ago came against Eliot Marshall.
And it is perhaps that rough stretch at light heavyweight that most influenced Cane's decision to drop to middleweight. But Camozzi, at 6-foot-3, said he walks around at 220 pounds much of the time. So from a size perspective, Cane's middleweight debut sees him thrown right into fire.
Plus, Camozzi has history on his side.
"Luiz Cane was looking to drop to middleweight, but I think I could fight at light heavyweight if I wanted to. If I could pack on a little muscle, I could be a light heavyweight, too," Camozzi said. "If he was looking to fight a smaller fighter, I don't think he's getting that in me."
UFC 153 features a main event light heavyweight bout between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar, plus a co-main event heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Dave Herman.