Thiago Moises had a “great” year in 2020, defeating longtime octagon veterans Michael Johnson and Bobby Green to put together his first winning streak as a UFC fighter. Alexander Hernandez will be his first challenge in 2021, and Moises doesn’t see many similarities with previous foes.
“Bobby Green and Michael Johnson were very experienced,” Moises said in an interview with MMA Fighting, “but Hernandez has an advantage because he’s coming up now, so he’s hungrier and more motivated, and that makes him dangerous. About the hype, he got in the UFC and knocked out [Beneil] Dariush so there was a lot of expectation around him, but I don’t think he’s all that. I think he’s overrated, and I’ll take that hype for me.”
Hernandez’s 4-2 UFC record includes a controversial decision over Moises’ teammate Francisco Trinaldo and a win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier, with stoppage losses to Donald Cerrone and Dober. For Moises, “The Great” is “not as good as people think.”
“I think ‘Massaranduba’ [Trinaldo] won that fight, Hernandez ran the entire fight,” Moises said. “[Trinaldo] said he’s strong, very explosive, that I have to be alert at all times, but I’m more than ready for this fight. This fight has everything to be the best fight of the night. We’re both young and we’re looking to climb the division, two well-rounded athletes, so it’s going to be a good one for the fans.”
Moises expects to face a “confident” Hernandez following his past performance in the eight-sided cage, but still predicts a submission victory. If victorious at UFC Vegas 20, Moises hopes for a big boost in the lightweight rankings and a shot at more popular names later this year.
“Three wins in a row against two experienced fighters and a prospect, I believe I deserve to fight a top-15,” he said. “I’d like to fight Al Iaquinta or Brad Riddell, if he beats [Gregor] Gillespie. I believe those fights are good matchups for me.”