Renato ‘Moicano’ Eyes Matchups with Lightweights Islam Makhachev, Gregor Gillespie

By Tristen Critchfield Jun 28, 2021

Renato Carneiro is beginning to settle in comfortably in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division.

“Moicano” improved to 2-1 since moving to 155 pounds on Saturday, as he submitted Jai Herbert with a rear-naked choke 4:34 into the second round of their bout at UFC Fight Night 190 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

“We specifically trained to take him down and take his back,” Carneiro said. “I was planning to do this, but what I expected was to finish him in the first round. I watched all his fights and he always gave up his back. I think he knew what I was going to do so he kept avoiding giving me his back, but in the second round, I was going strong in the ground and pound, he gave me his back and I got the rear-naked choke.”

The Brazilian was in complete control throughout his matchup with Herbert, but he learned a valuable lesson from the fight before his, where Danilo Marques gassed himself out hunting for a rear-naked choke in a third-round TKO loss against Kennedy Nzechukwu. Patience was key for “Moicano,” who transitioned from one dominant position to another and used ground-and-pound to create an opening to secure the fight-ending maneuver.

“With the ground game, we just had seen what happened to the other Brazilian guy who fought before me,” Carneiro said. “He was taking the guy’s back and rushing for a submission, but, for me, in the ground game, you have to be patient. It’s more about control. Control your opponent, don’t spend energy and go in at the right time. And that’s what I did. I’m really happy that I had patience in this fight.”

All eight of the 32-year-old American Top Team representative’s submission triumphs have come via rear-naked choke.

“I was just so happy he tapped. I don’t even know how to explain it, what it’s like to win a fight,” he said. “To me, it’s the best feeling in the world and I’m going to be feeling like this one week from now. I’m really happy.”

Despite that elation, Carneiro feels ready to move on to more serious matters, namely a ranked opponent in the lightweight division.

“My next fight will be against a Top 15 for sure. I keep asking the UFC the best,” he said. “I want the best names they can give me and that’s what I’m looking for. Guys like Islam Makhachev, [Gregor] Gillespie, all those guys. The best wrestler, the best striker… It’s even better for me. I want to fight the best.”

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