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2021-06-02

¡¡¡¡The bantamweight knows his back is against the wall as he prepares for his Aug. 28 bout against Mario Bautista at UFC Fight Night 195. Cannetti (8-5 MMA, 2-4 UFC) is coming off two straight defeats, and at 41 he¡¯s well aware a third consecutive defeat could mean the end of his run with the UFC.

¡¡¡¡¡°The truth, if I¡¯m being honest with you: I¡¯m in UFC, which is the biggest organization in the world, and I¡¯m coming off two losses ¨C even though I didn¡¯t lose them in a way where I was surpassed technically or physically by a lot, I was still beaten anyways and that hurts me a lot,¡± Cannetti told MMA Junkie in Spanish. ¡°I know if I lose the next one, keeping in mind my age, I¡¯ll be released. So I¡¯m making the most of this final stage of my career.

¡¡¡¡¡°I¡¯m trying to do the best job I can and I¡¯m going to keep fighting if I win. If I don¡¯t win and I get let go, I don¡¯t think I¡¯ll keep fighting. Surely, I¡¯ll retire. But if I win, I¡¯m going to keep fighting and capitalize on everything that I have learned all these years. I¡¯m really hoping the victory comes.¡±

¡¡¡¡Although Cannetti might not be a household name in United States, he¡¯s an MMA pioneer for Latin America, especially in his home country of Argentina.

¡¡¡¡Cannetti¡¯s professional fighting career was born in 2007 in his hometown of Buenos Aires. He cut his teeth on the regional circuits in Argentina and Brazil, going 6-1 with all six wins by first-round finish. His lone loss was a submission defeat to Cristiano Marcello, who went on to enter the UFC¡¯s 155-pound division years after.

¡¡¡¡His impressive run caught the UFC¡¯s eye in 2012 and he was taken under the wing of the UFC¡¯s developmental program in Latin America, where he was paid monthly by the UFC and sent to JacksonWink MMA for months to polish his skills on the UFC¡¯s dime. From there, Cannetti was cast on the inaugural season of ¡°The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.¡± He fell short of wining the tournament despite being considered a favorite by many.

¡¡¡¡Regardless, the UFC awarded Cannetti a contract following the end of ¡°TUF: Latin America,¡± and since, the Argentine has gone 2-4. The unsuccessful run in ¡°TUF,¡± paired with the subsequent UFC losses, injuries, a lengthy USADA suspension for a tainted supplement and other setbacks have taken a hit on Cannetti¡¯s high career expectations and promise.

¡¡¡¡Cannetti keeps a sober assessment of his career and is puzzled why things haven¡¯t panned out they way he thought they would entering the UFC.

¡¡¡¡¡°Seeing my kids watching me fight and lose, it gives me deep sorrow because every day I try to show them that you can move forward in life, that you must keep fighting ¨C and the truth is that it hurts me a lot,¡± Cannetti said.

¡¡¡¡¡°If I¡¯m being sincere, I sometimes ask myself, ¡®What¡¯s happening to me?¡¯ because I really don¡¯t understand. I¡¯ve trained with fighters of high level and done well, and then I fight in the UFC and don¡¯t do as well. I¡¯ve given a tough time in training to fighters who are in the top five and top 10, and then I look at my UFC career and see how I¡¯ve lost and even won, and I don¡¯t like it at all.

¡¡¡¡¡°I¡¯m not content at all. I am content that I got here, how hard I trained to get there, and how I¡¯ve carried myself. But the truth is that I don¡¯t feel like my career has gone the way it should have. I¡¯m very sad about that and I try to turn things around every time I step in the cage. I know this rival is very tough and this can be a really good victory for me ¨C kind of like Glover Teixeira¡¯s fight against (Thiago) ¡®Marreta¡¯ (Santos). Teixeira had gone through some tough times and then he was able to regroup.

¡¡¡¡¡°I hope that happens to me at 41 years of age just like him so I can have a chance to keep climbing up. I don¡¯t know if I¡¯ll become champion, but maybe I can string several wins in a row and forge a better future for my family.¡±

¡¡¡¡Cannetti is determined to make one last stand in the UFC and fight for his legacy, livelihood and job with the promotion. However, his Aug. 28 bout has come with adversity given the COVID-19 pandemic and the hard toll it¡¯s had in Latin America.

¡¡¡¡Used to going to California to train with Team Alpha Male for his camps, Cannetti will have to adjust and remain in Argentina for his fight against Bautista. Travel is tougher now and Argentina has suffered from big inflation on its currency, making it tough for any Argentine to afford living costs on the dollar in the U.S.

¡¡¡¡¡°This time, I¡¯m going to train in my country,¡± Cannetti said. ¡°I have a good team and I have many friends that do well internationally in tournaments. I have Luciano Correa, who¡¯s a black belt and a good friend of mine. ¡­ And with all the training that I¡¯ve had internationally at Team Alpha Male and other gyms, I don¡¯t think I need to leave. It¡¯s a very big cost to live there in the U.S.. The price of the dollar here is just impossible. It¡¯s just too expensive and I haven¡¯t fought in a long time. I had to spend money during the pandemic that I didn¡¯t plan on spending so I can maintain me and my family. I don¡¯t have much money.

¡¡¡¡¡°Fortunately, I have many high-level people here and I¡¯ll also be training with some friends who are professional boxers and have fought in the U.S. ¡­ I¡¯m tested and I have much experience. I don¡¯t think I¡¯ll feel a big change training here.¡±

¡¡¡¡But regardless of the struggles and the tough test ahead, Cannetti is ready to take the challenge head on and determined to turn his career around on what he thinks is his last chance.

¡¡¡¡¡°My son always uses this phrase: ¡®Lo que toca, toca y la suerte es loca¡¯ (what happens, happens, and luck is mad). One day, you¡¯re at the bottom, the other day you¡¯re on top.

¡¡¡¡¡°Look at (Jorge) Masvidal. He was a good fighter and known, but he wasn¡¯t like super famous and he got that knee knockout and was shot into fame and fought for a world title. I think if luck is on my side, things present themselves. (If) I do something spectacular and win, the doors can open up and I keep rising. I don¡¯t limit myself and I¡¯m always living in the present. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Hopefully it¡¯s for the better, because I think I deserve it having fought for so long, having so my obstacles. ¡­ It makes me very sad knowing this may be my last fight, but at the same time happy that I have one more opportunity.¡±

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