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But Sakai is confident he can take care of business this weekend.

“I really need to impose my game plan,” began the motorsports enthusiast who frequently spends time away from the gym driving motorcycles and stock cars, offering his keys to victory against Rozenstruik. “I’m better in the MMA game, more well rounded, and I know I will be able to find the openings in his game and get this win.”

Despite suffering his first setback inside the Octagon last time out, the even-keeled Brazilian is pleased with the overall shape of his UFC career thus far, understanding that a 500-mile race isn’t won on the first lap, and that you can only reach the top of the podium when everything is in place to produce a victory.

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“I think I have improved in everything in my MMA game, but I really think I have got a better mind,” said Sakai, taking a wide-angle view of his first five fights under the UFC banner and where he’s at just a few short days ahead of his sixth appearance inside the Octagon. “I feel I’m more experienced and smarter now.”

Wisdom and experience are two crucial elements to success that can only be found by putting in work in the gym and venturing into the cage to test yourself against the best the division has to offer.

They’re gained through wins and losses, trial and error, and making sacrifices, like passing up on a barbecue feast on your 30th birthday because you’ve got more important dates circled on your calendar.

“It would be just perfect,” Sakai said with a smile when asked how sweet of a belated birthday present a victory over Rozenstruik on Saturday would be.

First comes victory, and then comes the churrascaria; sounds like a pretty nice little Saturday night.


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