Walter Goncalves has put in some impressive performances since signing for ONE Championship but results have not always gone the Brazilian’s way. He has lost three Muay Thai fights out of four but will be hoping for more success when he makes his MMA debut next week.

The Brazilian dropped a split decision to Rodtang Jitmuangnon in his first fight for the promotion. He went toe to toe with one of the best in the division and held his own.

That was in 2019 and the following years have not been so kind to Goncalves who has been stopped by Kohei Kodera and Superlek Kiatmoo9. he subsequently decided to switch codes but says it was not a decision made overnight,

“This transition was something I had been planning for a long time because I had this dream and this desire to fight MMA. I was just adapting to training and waiting for the right moment to make my debut. I’ve been training hard, and I’m going to arrive on the day of the fight very well prepared.”

Unpleasant surprise

He faces Banma Duoji at ONE Fight Night 12 next week. If the Chinese fighter expects Goncalves to be a novice on the ground then he is in for an unpleasant surprise according to the Brazilian,

“I’ve been training jiu-jitsu for a long time, but since I was fighting Muay Thai, I couldn’t dedicate myself fully to grappling training. But now it’s different. I’m totally focused on MMA, and I’m sure I’ll make this transition well.”

The Chinese fighter is much more experienced in MMA terms and has 16 fights to his name. He has lost the last two but Goncalves describes his opponent as, “a very tough guy, very strong, and very experienced in MMA but since I’m well prepared, that won’t make me fearful or worried. On the contrary, it only motivates me to train harder to face him. I’m sure I’ll have a great fight with him and, God willing, I’ll get the win.”

Second chance

Given his experience in Muay Thai the Brazilian is understandably not intimidated by his opponent’s striking. He hopes that Duiji will be willing to stand and trade in the middle of the Lumpinee Stadium ring,

“I watched some of his fights, and I saw that he likes to throw kicks and punches. I think those are his strong points. But I also like to do that, so let’s put on a show! I didn’t see any weaknesses in his game, but I don’t think he can handle striking with me.”

A five round Muay Thai fight with Rodtang Jitmuangnon is about as tough a striking test as any MMA fighter will ever face. Goncalves clearly passed it even if he couldn’t quite walk away with the belt.

He will be trying his luck in a different sport in Bangkok next week. He might not have lived up to his potential competing in Muay Thai fights for ONE Championship but MMA has given Goncalves a second chance and the Brazilian will be desperate to make the most of it.