Zac Pauga returns to Cage Warriors at CW 130 to take on Markus Perez, following his promotional debut at CW 126 back in August.
Last time out in San Diego, Pauga had to show true heart after being dropped in round one by the more experienced Terrance Jean-Jacques, to pick up the victory.
Talking about his upcoming bout, Pauga revealed to Cage Warriors: “My camp went really well.
“We were training for a different opponent for most of it but it’s the best camp I’ve ever had and I’m feeling good about my weight.
“I’m feeling great right now!”
The 4-0 light heavyweight was scheduled to face off with Chuck Campbell (2-1), but with an injury forcing the AKA fighter out, Pauga accepted a fight with short notice opponent Markus Perez.
Perez is much more experienced than Pauga’s original opponent, having been a TUF veteran before a run on the regional scene earnt him a seven fight stretch with the UFC, taking on recognisable names like Erik Anders and Ian Heinisch in the middleweight division.
Pauga is unfazed by his last minute opponent change though, and puts that down to being able to train with high level fighters at Elevation Fight team, with sparring partners that include UFC heavyweight contender, Curtis Blaydes, UFC middleweight Neil Magny and MMA legend, Alistair Overeem: “It’s super useful for me to get rounds with guys like Curtis (Blaydes).
“The opponent I had before had a long reach and I was able to get rounds with Neil Magny, who has the second-longest reach in the UFC.
“Having those options available to me is a huge advantage for me.”
Pauga, who has previously played NFL and Rugby, remains respectful about his opponent and believes that a win over the Brazilian could be his ticket to the UFC: “I don’t want to fight lesser-known people, I want to fight big name opponents.”
“I want to fight guys that will get me to that next level and that’s exactly what Markus Perez is.
“I’d like to think this is the ticket to the UFC, he’s 12-5 and had a run in the UFC.
“If I beat him as an undefeated light-heavyweight, I don’t see the argument for not signing me.
Pauga made quite the impression in his Cage Warriors debut in San Diego at CW 126, landing striking combinations at will in rounds two and three to earn a win over Jean-Jacques.
This time around, Pauga has revealed he has a different game plan in mind: “I’m looking for the finish and this will be a dirty, nasty fight.
“I’m not going to pretend that he isn’t a skilled fighter, but I’m going to show Perez why there are weight classes and why taking a short notice fight against a heavier opponent isn’t a great idea.
“For this fight, I’m going to put my weight on him and make it dirty and nasty for him until he quits!”
Pauga will be in action on the main card of CW 130, with the prelims starting at 6:30pm PT live from San Diego on UFC Fight Pass and Cage Warriors broadcasting partners.