An exciting lightweight bout between two young prospects is going down in China, and Thiago Moises is expecting a war.

He takes on Damir Ismagulov at UFC on ESPN+ 15 in Shenzhen, China on Aug. 31, and he is excited for the opportunity to take on a formidable opponent.

Ismagulov (18-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has one career blemish, almost four years ago. He has won his last 13 in a row and has gone 2-0 in the UFC, with wins over Alex Gorgees and Joel Alvarez. Moises (12-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) knows he’s going in there with a game opponent and is looking to get the finish.

“Damir is a great opponent,” Moises told MMA Junkie. “Great striker, very loose on the feet, so he mixes it up, boxing with kicks, spinning back kicks. He has good wrestling, good ground game, so he’s well-rounded, and I’ll be ready to win on Aug. 31, so I’m pretty sure we will give the fans what they want. It’s going to be a standup war, and I’m going to get the TKO.”

The American Top Team product hopes a win over Ismagulov will elevate him in the lightweight rankings. The hard rounds spent in the gym have him confident and ready to go, he said.

“I love being a part of American Top Team,” Moises said. “I’ve been here since I was 17, so almost seven years. Every day hard training, pushing each other, every day learning.

“There’s no easy training. Everywhere you look on the mat, it’s going to be a tough round, so I’m very happy to be a part of that and always learning. Everybody always helps each other, so I’m really happy with the team. My main training partners for this camp are Felipe Douglas and Nathan Schulte.”

Moises notched his first UFC win, a unanimous decision win over Kurt Holobaugh at UFC 237, in his home country of Brazil. With the UFC heading to Sao Paulo on Nov. 16 for UFC on ESPN+ 22, Moises hopes he can make a quick turnaround after China and perform once again in front of his home fans, saying there’s no feeling like enjoying that support.

“My first UFC win, I felt amazing – it was great to perform in front of my people in Brazil,” Moises said. “My family, my friends, the energy was so good. I can’t wait to be back in Brazil. I want to get this win in China, and then I want to fight again in Brazil in Sao Paulo. It was five years since my last fight in Brazil.

“There’s no place I’d rather fight in than Brazil. The fans are crazy, their energy is so good, so every UFC in Brazil, I want to fight there, so hopefully I get a win in China and I’ll be able to fight in Sao Paulo in November.”

Moises made his UFC debut on short notice, in a losing effort to Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night 139 in November 2018. Now with his first UFC win out of the way, he’s only looking forward.

And he’s aiming for the top.

“My goal in the UFC, I want to dominate the fight,” Moises said. “I want to be the champion, and I work very hard for this, and I know I will accomplish these goals.”

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