Since joining the UFC roster in 2015, Vicente Luque has become one of the most devastating finishers in the welterweight division.
That’s saying a lot considering the welterweight division might be one of the toughest and deepest weight classes in the entire sport but Luque has managed to rack up five wins in his past six fights with submissions or knockouts in each of his victories.
Luque hopes to add another finish to his resume this Saturday when he faces another “Ultimate Fighter” alum in Canadian Chad Laprise, who is making his third consecutive appearance in the welterweight division after spending several fights at lightweight.
Laprise has managed to not only look much better — and healthier — as a welterweight but he’s also picked up back-to-back knockout wins in the division. It’s that kind of aggressive striking that Luque hopes Laprise brings with him to Chile this weekend because that only means he’s that much closer to a $50,000 bonus.
“If the guy puts on a war, I’ll give him a war,” Luque told MMAWeekly when speaking about Laprise. “I love fighting. So if he brings a war, it will be a war. He’s going to have to take my shots to make it a war. Whatever it is, I definitely want to get a bonus out of it.”
For all the finishes Luque has gotten in recent fights, he obviously never goes into any matchup believing he’s going to get the knockout or the submission. Instead, Luque just fights with the kind of forward pressure that really forces his opponents to face him head on and this time around he feels like he’s facing somebody with a very similar mindset.
“I definitely like the matchup. I’m always excited to fight guys who are strikers as well, just like me. I feel like it’s a perfect fight,” Luque said. “Chad likes press, he comes forward, he’s fast, he comes from 155 so he has that movement and quick hands. It’s a great style for me. I want to fight guys who really want to trade punches and go for the finish because that’s the way I fight. I really feel it’s a great fight for the fans and for me and it’s a fight the fans will like.”
“He’s coming off some knockouts so I’m sure he’s going to be a confident guy in there. I’m sure he’s going to try to knock me out and that’s exactly what I’m going to be looking for at the same time.”
Where Luque believes he’ll have the biggest advantage will be with his size and power in this fight.
Luque is a natural welterweight while Laprise is coming up from competing at 155 pounds for the majority of his UFC career. While Laprise has found some success at welterweight in recent fights, Luque plans on giving him a rather rude welcome when they clash in Chile this weekend.
“I definitely think I’m going to have the advantage when it comes to strength and size,” Luque said. “Not only because he came from a smaller division, but I’ve been fighting my entire career in this weight class. I’m used to this. I know how hard the guys hit and I know how hard I hit. It’s a new thing for him so it’s going to take him time to adapt.
“I’m a really powerful guy in the division so I think I’m going to have that advantage for sure.”
With a win, Luque would move his UFC record to 6-2 overall with his only recent defeat coming to top 15 ranked fighter Leon Edwards, who is about to headline his first UFC card against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in June.
Luque feels like a win over Laprise will put him right where he wants to be — knocking on the door of the top 15 rankings with designs on fighting at least two or three more times in 2018.
“I had that setback with Leon Edwards but looking at where he went after that fight, he’s a tough guy. He has proved it against me and other guys,” Luque said. “At the same time, I’ve been proving myself before and after. I came back and had that win over Niko Price. Now that’s my objective.
“I want to win and I want to get in that top 15 and work my way up to the title. That’s what I’m working for sure.”