While rising UFC middleweight prospect Paulo Borrachinha has looked completely unstoppable throughout his entire professional career, the undefeated 26-year-old Brazilian will be taking a huge step up in competition tonight (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) at UFC 217 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City, when he takes on former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.

Even though Hendricks has posted a pedestrian 1-4 record since the beginning of 2016, the 34-year-old veteran represents the biggest test to date for Borrachinha. Fortunately for the Brazilian, his confidence is riding high entering his PPV showdown with “Big Rigg” in NYC.

“I think I’m well trained for what [Hendricks] is going to try to do,” Borrachinha said in a recent interview with FloCombat. “I think he’s going to want to take the fight to the mat or stay on the fence to clinch. I came to the U.S. three weeks early to train for this. He’ll not be able to take me down, and if it does end up on the ground, I’ll get up fast.

“The fight will remain where I want it to be, which is standing up in order to score the knockout. Stylistically, I think I have all the advantages. I’m bigger, stronger, younger, and I have more potential to end this fight faster.”

While Borrachinha has never encountered a wrestler as distinguished and talented as Hendricks, the Brazilian is one of the bigger and stronger names on the UFC’s middleweight roster. It’s going to be very difficult for Hendricks to drag the rising youngster to the canvas, let alone hold him down.

If everything goes as planned and Borrachinha is able to keep the fight standing, he believes a memorable knockout finish of a former UFC champion will further reveal his growing star potential at 185 pounds.

“On the side of me getting better known, [an impressive victory] should get me bigger names from now on,” Borrachinha explained. “But on the other hand, [potential opponents] will recognize that I’m a more complete fighter and they might not want to fight me then.”

Considering the UFC’s middleweight division is home to a slew of top contenders entering the latter part of their careers, a fresh threat like Borrachinha would be welcomed with open arms. But before the Brazilian gets ahead of himself he’s going to have to deal with a Johny Hendricks fighting for relevancy this weekend at UFC 217.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 217 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.