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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matthew Wells and Ken Hathaway

Andre Fialho criticizes UFC Fight Night 224 opponent Joaquin Buckley’s ‘not very smart’ fight IQ

LAS VEGAS – UFC welterweight Andre Fialho believes his upcoming opponent is a physical problem inside the cage, but his mental approach hinders his success.

On the main card of UFC Fight Night 224, which takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex, Fialho (16-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) takes on Joaquin Buckley, a fighter with a number of impressive highlight-reel finishes. It’s a spot where both fighters need to get their hand raised to halt their losing skids.

Fialho acknowledges Buckley (15-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is one to watch out for, but explained he believes his opponent lacks something perhaps more important than physical threats, while also giving an honest assessment of his own issues.

“He’s very dangerous, very explosive, great athlete – but he’s not very smart when fighting,” Fialho told reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “He doesn’t have great IQ. I can say I haven’t used my IQ in fight as well, but I have been working on my patience a lot. I’m going to be patient this fight, and I want to use my IQ because I believe I’m a very smart fighter, but I haven’t been able to show you in the cage.”

Both fighters are entering the octagon on two-fight skids to close out their 2022 campaigns; Fialho was stopped by Jake Matthews and Muslim Salikhov, while Buckley was finished by Chris Curtis and lost a decision to Nassourdine Imavov. On a good note, though, both fighters were on winning streaks before the bumps in the road. Fialho believes a few adjustments and mixing up his approach will get him back on track.

“I think I just got overconfident,” Fialho said. “I thought my hands were enough, but as the level gets higher and people study me, they just expect my hands and it’s easier for them to defend and have a gameplan for it. I guess I had some of those weapons already, but I’ve just been working on it more and more.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 224.

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