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Matheus Nicolau Hopes Win Over Matt Schnell Puts Him in Title Contention



Matheus Nicolau is hoping that a victory at UFC on ESPN 42 will put him among the top contenders in the promotion’s flyweight division.

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Nicolau will take a three-fight UFC winning streak into his showdown with Matt Schnell at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday. The bout is slated for the evening’s main card, which airs on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“A win will put me in a great position in the division,” the Nova Uniao product told Sherdog.com. “There are some guys in front of me, like Kai Kara France, who just lost his interim title bout to [Brandon] Moreno. There's Brandon Royval, who lost to [Alexandre] Pantoja and Moreno. Alex Perez just lost to Pantoja. I believe that Pantoja is ahead, yes, but I think I will be the next name.”

Nicolau believes he is ready to be considered among the elite in the weight class. He’ll approach the matchup against Schnell will all possible scenarios in mind.

“The best and worst [fight] is always the next one. I always see each fight as the worst and best fight at the same time. In the worst fight, I have to be aware, well trained, and explore my opponent's strengths. It's the best fight because in it I can show my game and win,” he said. “Schnell is versatile with a good top 10 [ranking], very complete, but I'm prepared for him. The camp is excellent here at Nova União. I train wrestling with Piratiev, stand up with Felipe Jesus, I went to São Paulo to sharpen my boxing with Alex Cardoso and jiu-jitsu with Demian Maia's crew.”

As Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno prepare to square off with championship gold on the line for a fourth time at UFC 283 on Jan. 21, Nicolau believes the flyweight division is at its peak.

“I think it's the best phase of the category,” he said. “I think the UFC has given us value, the public and the media as well. The Top 15 is very tough, many fights end with submissions knockouts.”

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