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  • [ambient traffic noise]

  • [crowd chatter]

  • >> Jon: Oh, H-Town, Houston, Texas.

  • What's going on?

  • Thank y'all for coming out.

  • My name is Jon Anik.

  • We appreciate every last one of you

  • making some time to get over here on Wednesday.

  • Please welcome Dominick Reyes, Katlyn Chookagian, Ilir Latifi.

  • Alright, let us start with Mr. Latifi on the end.

  • It's good to see you, man.

  • So, you're the underdog here against Derrick Lewis

  • on Saturday night.

  • Do you prefer being the underdog

  • or the betting favorite in a fight?

  • >> Ilir: I started fighting the 205 division.

  • Everybody thought I was too small for that weight,

  • and everybody was saying go down to 185.

  • And, you know, I proved a lot of people wrong.

  • [laughing]

  • >> Saturday, let's see.

  • I'm fighting a tough opponent,

  • but I love the challenge

  • and I have no problem being the underdog, you know.

  • >> Dominick, right here, and same for Katlyn.

  • What do you have to do to keep

  • from being sparring partners

  • with these great fighters that y'all fighting on Saturday?

  • >> You gotta put yourself in danger.

  • It's the biggest risk makes the biggest reward.

  • So I'm ready to go out there and throw down, man.

  • I'm ready to bleed as much as necessary.

  • >> Same for Katlyn.

  • >> Katlyn: I think when there's a dominant champ,

  • then everyone goes in there and tries to play their game,

  • and I think most important part in there is to go in there,

  • and for me, and just play my game.

  • [applause]

  • >> Jon: We gotta bring out a couple athletes

  • with definite ties to your fine city.

  • So right now, one of the most popular fighters

  • on the UFC roster today and man does he own this H-Town.

  • Let's hear it for the perennial heavyweight contender,

  • The Black Beast Derrick Lewis!

  • [cheering]

  • >> Jon: Alright now, please welcome the one, the only

  • Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko.

  • [cheering]

  • >> Jon: Derrick Lewis, this is your city, my man.

  • I know these fans have been waiting a long time

  • to see you back here competing at Toyota Center.

  • You will kick off the pay-per-view main card.

  • Any thoughts on Latifi moving up

  • and what type of fight might be coming your way here?

  • >> [bleep] I'm gonna look for the knockout in the first round.

  • [cheering]

  • >> But yeah, it's gonna be-- I have to put on for Houston.

  • You know, we been through a lot,

  • with all the flooding and all that,

  • and so, I gotta come in swanging and banging the first round.

  • >> Valentina, I wanna ask you, is there anything unique

  • that she does that you haven't seen before,

  • anything you saw that said, "Hey, this is one thing

  • I gotta be really, really careful about in this fight"?

  • >> You know, the fight is fight.

  • You have to be really careful about everything.

  • Doesn't matter who you face.

  • And I know Katlyn, she's hoping her reach and her like head

  • is gonna help her during the fight, but she's mistaken.

  • She's mistaken a lot.

  • [cheering]

  • >> Jon: We're now gonna say hello

  • to one of the greatest of all time,

  • chasing more history Saturday night:

  • Jonny "Bones" Jones!

  • [cheering]

  • >> Jon, Dominick Reyes was here earlier, of course,

  • and he was asked about your boxing.

  • And he said that he feels like that's something

  • that he can exploit, the he can capitalize.

  • He thinks he's the better boxer than you.

  • Your thoughts on that?

  • >> My job is not to go out there and get in a boxing match.

  • My job is to be the better mixed martial arts fighter.

  • Like I said, I'm very aware that his best counters

  • come in boxing combinations,

  • and my job is to make his chances extremely slim

  • through hard work, faith, focus.

  • And at the end of the day,

  • it won't make a difference on Saturday night.

  • It's gonna be who has their head together,

  • who's more prepared mentally and physically,

  • to get the job done.

  • And I believe that's me and our team.

  • >> Jon: Alright, let us hear it once more, folks.

  • The champions Jonny "Bones" Jones, Valentina Shevchenko,

  • and Houston's finest The Black Beast Derrick Lewis.

  • We'll see y'all Saturday night.

  • [thumping]

  • >> Katlyn: You know, I try to work out a little bit later at night,

  • since I'm fighting later.

  • It's right now 9. I'm gonna go a little bit,

  • do everything we've been working on, all technical stuff.

  • Kinda just running through everything like a rehearsal,

  • I guess.

  • Get a little bit of a sweat going.

  • Just have fun.

  • I always fight better when I fight better opponents.

  • And Valentina's definitely the best opponent

  • that I've fought before.

  • Valentina's dominated her recent opponents

  • but a lot of her fights were decisions.

  • She's a counter puncher.

  • I'm not gonna just go in like a bull,

  • just charging right at her.

  • I'm gonna be moving my head, moving my feet the entire time,

  • so it's hard for her to find me.

  • So, I definitely think she's gonna bring out

  • the best fighter in me, and it's gonna be a really good fight.

  • [crowd chatter]

  • >> Hi, how are ya. >> Good.

  • >> What's up, how are you?

  • >> Good.

  • Let's do it. Let's do it.

  • >> I gotta ask you, you talked about

  • being the female James Bond.

  • The other week, The Schmo talked to Ben Askren.

  • He called you a spy.

  • Can we denounce those rumors right here?

  • >> I'm not a spy.

  • >> Where do you stand out?

  • Where do you have an advantage going into the fight?

  • >> Katlyn: Definitely my reach.

  • I mean, my height is a huge advantage for me.

  • I like to-- sometimes I like to watch Jon Jones

  • and see how he uses his length

  • and I try to mimic some of that stuff.

  • But yeah, I just think my range, my movement, my endurance,

  • and my height, volume, are all advantages

  • I need to use throughout the whole fight.

  • >> Valentina: I'm prepared for the hardest thing.

  • I think my mentality, if you are ready for the hardest things,

  • it's easy to finish the fight earlier, right?

  • Whatever she want to use in the fight,

  • it's fine with me because I'm ready for anything.

  • I'm ready for any thing that she will have.

  • >> Where's this real confidence come from?

  • I've been around a lot of athletes, NBA, NFL, boxers.

  • You can tell when someone has some fake swag.

  • Your stuff's 300% legit.

  • So where's it coming from?

  • >> That's the only way I know how to do it, man.

  • It's legit and that's it.

  • This is is just me reaching my dreams,

  • me reaching the pinnacle for things I want.

  • I believe everything I've done in my life has led to this.

  • I think that's where the confidence really comes from,

  • just feels like fate, man. It feels like destiny.

  • >> Jon: Yeah, I think he's reaching.

  • He's trying to hang onto these ideas to,

  • like, talk himself up, and my job is to take his ideas away

  • and send him into the fight with nothing.

  • And it's easy to do that because, you know, when you say

  • things like, "Weidman beat Anderson and I beat Weidman.

  • This is gonna give me the magic that I need."

  • What are you freaking talking about?

  • Mm-hm.

  • The fact that he just ran his face like that,

  • out of his mouth, is just...

  • He's [bleep] really.

  • What I do, why I do it.

  • Woo.

  • [theme music]

  • ♪♪

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