Emilio Urrutia confident ahead of Manila clash with Bruno Pucci

Emilio Urrutia confident ahead of Manila clash with Bruno Pucci
PHOTO: Emilio Urrutia confident ahead of Manila clash with Bruno Pucci

Excited by his ONE Championship debut, Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia can’t wait to jump back into the cage and continue where he left off.

Urrutia (10-4) takes on two-time BJJ no-gi world champion Bruno Pucci (5-2) at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES, which takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on Friday, 26 January.

He heads into the bout on a wave of confidence, having scored an impressive decision victory over Edward Kelly on his promotional debut at ONE: QUEST FOR GREATNESS last August. It was an experience he will never forget.

“It was like magic. I do not know how to explain it,” he enthused.

“It was crazy. From event week, how smoothly it went with my cornermen and my coaches, to how the promotion treated me, it was great.

“Getting the energy from the big show for the first time was awesome, but I was super nervous. When the match took place, I just tried to embrace every minute of it and enjoy it, because it was a culmination of 10 years’ hard work trying to get to that stage.

“After getting my hand raised, I remember the first thing I wanted to do was jump into my cornerman’s arms. Everything we worked on in training, it all just came together perfectly. It was the best night of my life, and a feeling I still hold dear to my heart to this day.”

Urrutia is a man who is clearly loving every moment of his martial arts journey, having swapped Miami for Thailand to chase his dream of becoming a professional martial arts athlete with Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.

He sees similarities between himself and his upcoming opponent Pucci, who also changed his life when he moved from Brazil to Singapore to become part of the Evolve Fight Team.

“In many ways, we are similar people,” Urrutia admitted.

“He is living far away from home, teaching martial arts in Singapore, and I am doing pretty much the same thing in Thailand. We are living the same struggle, chasing the same dream, walking the same path. That is what I am excited about.

“He wants to be a world champion one day, and so do I. I think it is going to bring out the best in me. I am going to shine and rise to the occasion, I promise.”

Pucci heads into the contest with a reputation as an elite-level grappler, having captured the no-gi grappling world title twice, winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

Urrutia believes he has the edge in all departments heading into the bout, saying: “I do not want to sound bad, but I think he’s in trouble.

“I think I am a terrible matchup for him, honestly. I think this is a great matchup for me to showcase what I have.

“I am faster and stronger than I have ever been. I am ready for war, and I am looking at stopping this bout with my heart and my cardio. I am going to put this guy away.

“I feel like I am going to get a TKO in the second round, or early-to-mid third round. I want to take him down and get a ground-and-pound finish from the top, old-school style. But I will take the one-shot finish, too. I am long overdue a KO.

“I am a jiu-jitsu guy, so I am not going to shy away from going to the ground with him. He is known as a jiu-jitsu specialist, and I want to be known as the best jiu-jitsu specialist in martial arts, so this is why I am so excited for this matchup.”

Urrutia may be confident, but he’s also respectful of his opponent’s skillset, and admits his bout with ‘Puccibull’ will be the toughest of his career.

“It is going to be tough because he is a two-time world champion, so I have nothing but the utmost respect for him,” he said.

“It is probably going to be one of my toughest matches to date, but my last match was my toughest one to date, too.

“I feel like the tougher the match and the harder the opponent, the better I will be. I am excited to rise to the occasion.

“I want to win impressively, then call out the guy who is closest to the title. I want to face the biggest, baddest dudes in the whole division. I want the guys that nobody wants to face. Give them to me, because I want that world title shot, and I want that belt around my waist.”