Elizeu Zaleski completes UFC deal, open to re-signing: ‘UFC has great plans for me’

Elizeu Zaleski completed his UFC contract with a thrilling majority draw against Rinat Fakhretdinov earlier this month at UFC Sao Paulo. Now he hopes to secure a good deal going forward.

Zaleski told MMA Fighting he feels he should’ve won the Nov. 4 fight in Brazil and sees the draw as “unfair”, but doesn’t expect the outcome to affect his negations with the company.

“I believe the UFC has great plans for me,” Zaleski said. “I’m always open to negotiations. I feel great in the organization, I’m always giving my best in every fight. But everything is negotiable. I need to be valued not only as an athlete but also financially, and I’m fighting for this.”

Zaleski holds a UFC record of 10-3-1 that includes a knockout win over middleweight champion Sean Strickland and decisions over the likes of Max Griffin and Abubakar Nurmagomedov. His current unbeaten streak includes a one-sided beatdown over rising welterweight contender Benoit Saint-Denis.

“They know I’ll always deliver wherever I go, and it will be no different for my next fights,” Zaleski said. “I hope I’m getting valued. I’ll do what I do best, and always represent my country well.”

“He’s always fought the toughest competition in the UFC,” Zaleski’s coach Cristiano Marcello added. “He’s always putting on a show — and even knocked out the [middleweight] champion.”

The Brazilian is open to rematching Fakhretdinov if he re-signs with the UFC, but has “other plans in mind with more interesting fights.”

“A fight that I think would be really interesting is Santiago Ponzinibbio,” Zaleski said.

Ponzinibbio lost recently to Kevin Holland after closing 2022 with a bonus-winning knockout over Alex Morono.

“We have this Brazil vs. Argentina rivalry in soccer, so why not do it in MMA as well?” Zaleski said. “Let’s do it! He’s a striker and likes to brawl just like myself, so it would definitely sell well. I’d love this — and it would definitely end by knockout.”