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Vicente Luque is expecting a different Niko Price this time around.

Luque (17-7-1 MMA, 10-3 UFC) faces Price at UFC 249, a rematch from their first meeting in 2017, where Luque submitted Price in the second round.

Since that fight, both men have found success in the division, notching big wins. Luque has won six of his last seven, and despite stopping Price in their first meeting, he’s not taking him lightly.

He’s expecting a much more evolved version.

“I was just ready to fight so whoever it was, I was going to fight because I’m ready, I’m feeling good,” Luque told MMA Junkie. “I want to go out there and perform so Niko Price made sense. He’s a great fighter, he’s aggressive, he’s coming off a great win over James Vick so for the fans, I know that this is gonna be a great fight.

“It’s gonna be an exciting fight, both of us are aggressive so all of this made sense for me, and game plan wise, I’m definitely not looking at him as the same Niko Price I beat almost three years ago. He had a lot of time to evolve, I’ve changed a lot so I’m looking at this as a new fight, as a new opponent, and I’m gonna go out there and do my best.”

Price (14-3 MMA, 6-3) has scored some wild finishes, two off of his back, making him a dangerous, and unpredictable opponent, but Luque will look to turn those aggressive attributes to his favor, and land another finish.

“I think he’s more experienced and a little bit more aggressive so the aggressiveness can be good and bad for him,” Luque said. “So if I can capitalize on that, I will try. Maybe put some counters in there. I see he really wants to put pressure on his opponents and I believe he’s going to try and do the same with me. Overall I think he has gained a lot of experienced so now he knows how to pace himself a little bit, and get some good comebacks.”

UFC 249 takes place May 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card is expected to stream on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.



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