Tanner Boser excited for unexpected Fight Island opportunity against Raphael Pessoa

It may have been unexpected and it may have been at the last minute, but Tanner Boser’s desire of competing on Fight Island is now happening.

Canada’s Boser (18-6-1) is stepping in on 10 days notice, replacing Justin Tafa, in a heavyweight contest at UFC Fight Island 3 where he will take on Brazil’s Raphael Pessoa (10-1) on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

A slot on one of the Fight Island cards was something Boser, 28, called for following his most recent victory on June 27 over Philipe Lins, but said he wasn’t fully expecting it to become a reality.

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“I did ask for Fight Island, so I’m glad I got the shot. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting it to be this fast, but I’m glad that it is,” said Boser in an interview with MMA Empire.

“It’s definitely something I’m going to look back on, and I’ll treasure all the memories and the experience to fight here. I’m happy to be a part of it, and I know, in the future, I’m going to think this was a cool thing I did.”

No time to rest

Following his arrival back in Canada after his win over Lins, Boser was required to complete a 14-day quarantine.

And in only a matter of minutes following his completion of the mandatory quarantine, Boser was told about the opportunity on Fight Island.

“I was out of quarantine for a few minutes when I heard about the fight on Monday. I signed for it on Tuesday, but I was offered it on Monday morning,” said Boser.

“I heard about it on Monday, so I had three days to train after quarantine in Edmonton before taking off again.”

In addition to the Fight Island experience and the quick turnaround he was hoping for, Boser will also be looking at a significant bump in pay this time around, after signing a four-fight contract extension as part of the negotiations for this fight.

Boser said he’s happy with how the negotiations panned out, not only for this fight, but for his UFC career moving forward.

Tanner Boser
Tanner Boser throws a big overhand left in his bout with Jared Kilkenny at Unified MMA 37. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“With this contract, I got a decent pay increase, and I’m very happy with it,” said Boser.

“I’m looking forward to the next few fights.”

Boser familiar with no-crowd experience

Boser is one of the few fighters on the UFC roster that is experiencing the no-crowd UFC events for a second time.

Boser said while his fight with Lins felt odd without the crowd noise, it didn’t affect him in any way, and he also enjoyed it.

“It feels different, but it doesn’t bother me if there’s a crowd or not. I liked it; it was reminiscent of a hard sparring session,” said Boser.

“There’s things to consider with it, but will it have an impact on anything? Not in my mind.”

Throughout his career, Pessoa has proven to be a threat on the feet and on the ground, ending five fights by way of knockout or TKO, and another by submission.

Boser said there are areas where Pessoa does pose a threat that he needs to be wary of, but ultimately knows he holds the edge overall.

“Like every Brazilian thats’s ever been born, he has a jiu-jitsu black belt. Besides that, he’s a good enough striker. He’s a wild striker, throws a lot of spinning attacks and wild punches. You have to be cautious and can’t get caught by anything because he throws with bad intentions,” said Boser.

“I’m definitely the better striker; that’s not even up for debate. But he’s powerful and he’s reckless, and that makes him dangerous.”

Boser isn’t the only one, however, preparing for a new on opponent on short notice, as Pessoa will also have to make the adjustments for Boser’s game compared in his original opponent in Tafa.

Pessoa said he’s not familiar with what Boser brings to the table, but said his goal remains the same as always.

“I don’t know much about him, but it’s a great fight for me,” said Pessoa.

“The plan hasn’t changed; I will go in there and do my job.”

Boser’s Shoutouts

“I’d like to thank my sponsors (Paul Peddle Services, BBN Consulting, Premier Built Garages, MealKraft), my coaches (Jeff Montemurro, Keijiro Noda), and my cornermen (Teddy Ash, KB Bhullar).” Follow Boser on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM