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Turlock fighter to make UFC debut on Saturday
Lewis Gonzalez vs. Leandro Silva
lewis buchholz
Lewis Gonzalez, pictured here in his last fight against Justin Buchholz, enters the Octagon on Saturday with a 10-1 record, including five submissions and two KOs. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR/The Journal

Lewis Gonzalez is officially a UFC fighter. Less than two months after requesting a release from his World Series of Fighting contract and putting his MMA career in a state of uncertainty, Gonzalez has been asked to fight on the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 70 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL where he will face Brazilian fighter Leandro “Buscape” Silva.

With a short notice of 11 days to prepare, both Gonzalez and Silva will be competing as Welterweights at 170 pounds instead of in their typical Lightweight division.

“I guess it feels the same way as a football player when he finds out he’s been drafted by a NFL team,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t planned. You never know when you’ll get the call.”

Saturday will mark Gonzalez’ first fight since a December victory over Justin Buchholz at WSOF 16 in which the Turlocker avenged the first and only loss of his career. Before last week, however, Gonzalez was expecting to wait a little longer before his next fight.

After being released by WSOF with two fights remaining on his contract, and after attending try outs for The Ultimate Fighter reality show in mid-May, Gonzalez was slated to fight former opponent Justin Baesman in a regional rematch on Aug. 29. Instead, Gonzalez will be back on the national stage in the biggest fight of his career.

“We were working on that fight in August when we got the call saying they needed someone to fill in for a fight,” Gonzalez said. “That’s kind of how it happens for everybody now.”

Originally scheduled as the finale for “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4,” Saturday’s card was reshuffled due to issues with travel visas for 12 Brazilian fighters, leaving room for Gonzalez and Silva to make their way into the preliminary lineup.

“I’ve fought on two weeks’ notice, but I was just coming off of a fight so that was a little bit different because I had just went to a training camp and had only one week off,” Gonzalez said. “But from what I’ve heard, even though this guy’s Brazilian and there’s a lot of Brazilian guys on the card, he wasn’t a main guy on the card either.”

Since being notified, Gonzalez has kicked his training into high gear with two-a-day sessions as he prepares for a seasoned Silva who is 17-2-1 and is known for submissions with ten to his name. For Gonzalez — 10-1 with five submissions and two KOs — a fight with a grappler is the best-case scenario considering his short time frame to prepare.

“He doesn’t really push the pace. He kind of sits there and he wants you attack. He backs up to the fence and likes to fight with his back to the fence,” Gonzalez said. “He’s got a decent shot, he likes to go for the takedown. He’s a jiu-jitsu guy, but he’s more of a wrestler.”

“He’s got some good chokes. He’s pretty crafty how he jumps to the guillotine, so I just have to keep that in mind,” he added.

Silva will enter the cage on Saturday fresh off a fight against Drew Dober in March in which Silva was awarded the victory due to a premature stoppage by the referee that UFC President Dana White dubbed “insane” — the outcome was later overturned and declared a no contest.

“My plan’s to go in there and win. I feel confident I can beat this guy,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez’s fight and the rest of UFC Fight Night 70’s preliminaries will be televised on FOX Sports 2 at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The main card, featuring Lyoto Machida vs.  Yoel Romero, will be televised on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m.