UFC bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao reflected on his fight against current welterweight challenger Jorge Masvidal back in 2005.
It’s common for MMA fighters to take on whoever and whenever early in their professional careers. This was the case for UFC bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao, who faced Jorge Masvidal back in 2005.
When the call came with an opponent for his 5th professional fight in, the Brazilian accepted it without much hesitation. Little did he know that his opponent would be Jorge Masvidal.
Although, Assuncao and Masvidal both started their careers at lightweight, one would eventually move up and find success at welterweight, while the other moved down to bantamweight.
The pair met on April 21, 2005, at Full Throttle 1. They both had similar professional records at the time, with Assuncao entering the bout with 4-0 and Masvidal with 5-0. Raphael Assuncao admits that he didn’t know much about “Gamebred”, but he did know he would be the smaller man.
He recently talked to BJPENN.com, reflecting back on his fight against Masvidal:
“It just happened at 155 in Atlanta. I was 4-0, both undefeated and that is the fight that happened,” Assuncao explained. “I accepted it knowing he was a bigger guy. But, I said let’s make it happen.”
Assuncao said that he was looking to build some experience and accepted every fight offer sent his way. Initially, he was supposed to fight Yves Edwards, but the fight didn’t materialise due to a dispute over pay.
“I took every fight I could get, that is why that happened. I accepted it, but I was supposed to fight Yves Edwards. That fight didn’t happen because I tried to negotiate more money,” he said. “They offered 1500/1500 to fight Edwards and I said no, 3000/3000 to get the fight. They didn’t want it. That fight didn’t happen.”
Assuncao admits that he knew he would be at a disadvantage in the striking department, so his game plan was to wrestle Masvidal. In the 1st-round, the Brazilian planned to get a takedown and control Masvidal on the ground.
Unfortunately, there is no available footage of the bout, but if Assuncao’s memory serves him right, that’s exactly how the round played out:
“Yeah, I used my wrestling. The first round was me getting one takedown and I just laid and prayed the entire round,” he explained. “Threw some ground strikes but really, it was me just laying on top of him to win the first round.”
After finding success in the 1st-round, Assuncao admits that Masvidal got the better of him in the 2nd-round with crisp striking:
“He beat me up pretty good in the second, landed some good shots. So, he won that one,” he said.
Going into the final round, the fight was pretty much a draw. Assuncao said that he realised this and planned to make the last round the same as the first round:
“Then, in the third round, I knew I needed to win the round to win the fight,” Assuncao said. “So I did exactly what I did in the first and I got one takedown and laid and prayed for the win.”
Despite handing Masvidal his 1st-professional loss, Assuncao remains humble and isn’t necessarily flashing his accomplishment.
“It is all part of the game. I don’t say oh I beat Masvidal but it is cool,” he said. “I’ve been in this game for a long time. I’ve fought everybody man and always improving.”
When asked if he feels like he is the original “BMF”, he laughed and had the following to say:
“Yeah, right? [Laughs] Nah, I wouldn’t take anybody’s credit or accomplishment,” he concluded.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 18th March, 2020.