LAS VEGAS – Waldo Cortes-Acosta didn’t get a finish in his debut, but was glad to have the chance to express himself while showing his abilities on the main card of UFC Fight Night 213.
The Dominican heavyweight was unable to put Jared Vanderaa away, despite landing a number of hard punches that found their target. In return, Vanderaa (12-10 MMA, 1-6 UFC) landed hard leg kicks that Cortes-Acosta (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) appeared to have no answer for initially, but drew out audible taunts and emotion.
“Yeah, I felt them, but that’s why we’re here,” Cortes-Acosta told reporters through an interpreter at the post-fight news conference. “It’s a war, and whatever he needs to do. If your leg is shot, whatever happens, you need to keep pounding.”
“Salsa Boy” said he does not believe his leg is injured, just swollen and painful. He anticipates he’ll be able to return to training in a few days.
While working through the leg kicks approach of his opponent, Cortes-Acosta taunted a number of times by yelling and even breaking out a salsa dance in a nod to his nickname.
“It is a stage,” Cortes-Acosta said. “A stage where you can dance, you can be yourself, express yourself, you gotta play, everybody’s looking at you. That’s what you’re going to see from me. … The more I continue to fight, that’s the Waldo you’re going to see, somebody that’s loose and happy to be here.”
Cortes-Acosta credited Vanderaa for his toughness, and anticipated he would be hungry to prove something to himself and the promotion. However, he also believes his opponent didn’t account for the hard work and sacrifice he put in to be successful as well.
When he does return, Cortes-Acosta wants to mix it up with the heavyweight winner of the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“I think he’s actually watching the fight, and I think he’s watching the interviews, and I think he knows it’s him that I want, Mohammaed Usman.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 213.
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