Since suffering just his second career loss in his lone bout of 2017, welterweight prospect Vinicius de Jesus has managed to get back on track with two straight victories.
First against Tim Caron this past December at Bellator 207, and then versus Rodolfo Barcellos at Bellator 216 in January, de Jesus was able to have strong showings and build the foundations for a winning streak.
“When Bellator offered me this (Caron) fight on 10 days’ notice, I had to take the fight,” de Jesus told MMAWeekly.com. “I didn’t care who the opponent was. I felt it would be some good experience. I could experience more movement, more conditioning in training, so I took that fight as a challenge to myself and try to dominate the fight from the beginning to the end for three rounds. It was definitely a good experience.
“I was very surprised and happy to have the (Barcellos) fight because three other fighters pulled out of the fight. It was supposed to be a great fight to show my striking movement fighting a striking fighter. A lot of people know me as a (Jiu-Jitsu) black belt, but not a lot of people know about my striking side. It was very good to show what I can do.”
After building himself on smaller shows the first half of his career, de Jesus feels like he’s really been able to make strides in both his career and game over the past couple years.
“About the career, there was a little bit of improvement,” said de Jesus. “We’ve been working for a while on this MMA road, and now with my media, Bellator give me a little more visualization and given more attention to me, my career has a little bit of improvement.
“But as a fighter I’ve seen improvement a lot the past couple years. I see a lot of improvement in my own game, but still a lot of things are getting better. I’m always obsessed with getting better.”
On Friday in Hartford, Connecticut, de Jesus (7-2) will look to claim an MMA title when he faces belt holder Jeremiah Wells (6-1-1) in a 170-pound championship main event at CES 55.
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“In MMA you need to have three components very strongly in my opinion: skill, heart, and soul,” de Jesus said. “I see (Wells) with a lot of heart and soul, he fights very hard, and has a lot of passion when he fights, but when the cage door closes you need to have a lot of those three. What I think he’s going to fall against me is in skill.
“I feel I have a lot of skill in the standing up, on the ground, and in wrestling; and that’s how I think we’re going to get the win in this fight.”
With a title potentially in toe, de Jesus is looking to take the next step in his career before the close of 2019.
“Our goal is to go to the big show,” said de Jesus. “CES is going to give us this opportunity, to be on Fight Pass, and give us the opportunity to show our best performance. Our goal is to reach the top this year. Without a doubt, we will accept nothing less than getting on the main card of the big show.”