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Francisco Vinuelas gunning for lethwei gold

After a long and storied career that has taken him across all corners of the globe, Spanish veteran Francisco Vinuelas gets the opportunity he has been dreaming of, a shot at World Championship gold. On September 25, he takes on champion Antonio Faria for the Light Welterweight World Lethwei Championship in the main event of WLC: LETHWEI SHOWCASE.

WLC: LETHWEI SHOWCASE will air on 25 September at 6.30pm Myanmar time (5am Pacific Time, 8am Eastern Time, 1pm London Time) and is available on UFC Fight Pass, Canal+ and other broadcast partners across 100 countries. Please check your local listings.

Bareknuckle roots

Vinuelas is no stranger to bareknuckle, and this bout is a return to his roots. He began his career in vale tudo, the Brazilian combat sport where competitors compete bareknuckle and headbutts are allowed as well. Vale tudo was popular among the underground martial arts culture in the late 1990s, and that was where Vinuelas had his start in combat sports.

Venture into China

Vinuelas has spent the larger part of the last decade in China, where he has added to his record of more than 60 fights. He competed predominantly in mixed martial arts at a time when the sport was blossoming in the country, taking on both up-and-comers as well as decorated superstars during his tenure there. He would also compete in kickboxing.

Return to Southeast Asia

Vinuelas felt he did all he could in China, and moved to Southeast Asia to reinvent himself. That journey has taken him full circle, and after several Muay Thai contests in Thailand, he has now dedicated himself to lethwei.

Biggest fight of his life

The title opportunity against the Portuguese champion Faria is the biggest of his life, and renews the rivalry between Spain and Portugal. The Iberian derby is one of the oldest in the world and it raises the stakes for what is already a scintillating main event contest.