MARK Eddiva admitted having second thoughts accepting his replacement opponent, but the opportunity to rise through the UFC featherweight ranks was simply too good to pass up.
The up-and-coming Filipino mixed martial artist is taking on Levan Makashvili in UFC: Fight Night Manila on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena after being given less than two weeks’ notice.
“May konting pag-alinlangan din, pero lahat naman napag-aaralan eh,” he said on Thursday. “Nakapunta ka na, bakit hindi mo pa itutuloy?”
“And this fight is very important kasi isang step uli ito the top,” added Eddiva, who split his first two UFC fights.
The 29-year-old fighter from Baguio believes he had sufficient time for his buildup against his American foe, who replaced the injured Alex White.
“Oo naman, enough yung preparation,” Eddiva insisted, adding he underwent a “holistic” two-month training. “Kasi hindi naman gaano kahirap basahin yung laro niya, kaya okay lang.”
“At prior to that, 'yung physical condition ko okay na kasi nag-prepare na ako for the other fighter,” added the Asian Games bronze medalist, who prepared for White for a month. “Ang iibahin lang 'yung game plan.”
Makashvili echoed Eddiva’s sentiments.
“I’m always training and never out of shape, so I’m one of those guys who will take a fight anytime, anywhere, and anyone in the 145-pound division,” he said. “I just need a few weeks to get myself to peak, but I’m always right where I need to be.”
Eddiva feels he has the advantage in striking and his footwork as he’s facing a flat-footed foe who’s usually just turns to his boxing skill.
“Medyo hindi gaano magalaw yung kalaban ko,” Eddiva said, adding he will go for the knockout when the opportunity presents itself. “It depends on the situation, but if the opportunity comes, why not?”
But the Lakay standout is facing a hungry 26-year-old opponent who’s making his debut in the world’s premier MMA organization after all but one of his seven fights in minor promotions.
“I respect every opponent of mine, but ultimately I came here to win and that’s what I’m going to do,” Makashvili said.