is hoping that a victory at
UFC on ESPN 42
will put him among the top contenders in the
promotion’s flyweight division.

Nicolau will take a three-fight UFC winning streak into his
showdown with Matt
at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday. The
bout is slated for the evening’s main card, which airs on ESPN and
ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“A win will put me in a great position in the division,” the Nova
Uniao product told “There are some guys in front of
me, like Kai Kara
, who just lost his interim title bout to [Brandon]
Moreno. There’s Brandon
, who lost to [Alexandre] Pantoja and Moreno. Alex Perez
just lost to Pantoja. I believe that Pantoja is ahead, yes, but I
think I will be the next name.”

Nicolau believes he is ready to be considered among the elite in
the weight class. He’ll approach the matchup against Schnell will
all possible scenarios in mind.

“The best and worst [fight] is always the next one. I always see
each fight as the worst and best fight at the same time. In the
worst fight, I have to be aware, well trained, and explore my
opponent’s strengths. It’s the best fight because in it I can show
my game and win,” he said. “Schnell is versatile with a good top 10
[ranking], very complete, but I’m prepared for him. The camp is
excellent here at Nova União. I train wrestling with Piratiev,
stand up with Felipe Jesus, I went to São Paulo to sharpen my
boxing with Alex Cardoso and jiu-jitsu with Demian
‘s crew.”

As Deiveson
and Brandon
prepare to square off with championship gold on the line
for a fourth time at UFC 283 on Jan. 21, Nicolau believes the
flyweight division is at its peak.

“I think it’s the best phase of the category,” he said. “I think
the UFC has given us value, the public and the media as well. The
Top 15 is very tough, many fights end with submissions

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Matheus Nicolau Hopes Win Over Matt Schnell at UFC Orlando Puts Him in Title Contention