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Confident Jake Matthews returns to Octagon to fight Matthew Semelsberger

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Jake Matthews will step back into the cage this month, squaring off with Matthew Semelsberger at UFC FN 119 in Las Vegas.

Following a 15-month absence, the Australian returned in style at UFC 275, dominating André Fialho in Singapore en route to collecting Performance of the Night honours.

Sharp from the outset, Matthews finished his opponent inside two rounds by way of KO to improve to 18-5 as a professional. It was a fight he felt was long overdue and one which has since filled him with confidence as he begins preparations for his December 18 date with Semelsberger.

"It was about time I showed people what I can do [but] it wasn't a surprise to me or my training partners," Matthews told ESPN. "It's still not 100% of what I can do in the Octagon, but it was good to show a good percentage of what I'm capable of.

"I had the confidence from what I took into training but now I know I can do it in the fights and we know what we need to do to get myself in the mental and physical state to be able to do it. All I need to do is touch someone. If I can lay a hand on them, then they're going to be in trouble."

Matthews had four fights fall through following his tough loss to Sean Brady in March last year but it may have been a blessing in disguise with the 28-year-old using the time to adjust both his training regime and mindset.

"There were fights where I was focused on my opponent a lot -- game planning and strategizing -- and they're the fights I did the worst in. The Brady fight, for example, it was all about his front headlock chokes, and I focused on them so much that I completely shut my game down," he said.

"When I was 18 years old, I didn't care what [my opponents] were good at. I used to rock up to the fight and not know if they're a black belt, a boxer, kick-boxer or wrestler. I used to go in knowing what I was good at and that's all that mattered. If I did what I was good at, then I was going to win no matter what.

"I do watch enough footage to know what my opponent is about, but at the end of the day I need to focus on what I'm good at. We took that mentality into the last fight and it means I don't have any cares when I'm out there, which helps me relax, loosen up and go with the flow of the fight. In the long run, I think [the 15-month break] worked out for the best."

Semelsberger has fought twice in 2022 for a 1-1 split. The 30-year-old American got the better of A.J. Fletcher in March before being overpowered by Alex Morono four months later.

But Semelsberger is someone who possesses the ability to finish an opponent in quick fashion, as demonstrated last September when he floored Martin Sano Jr. inside 15 seconds.

"He's a bit of a mixed bag," said Matthews. "Once I lay hands on him he's quite likely to shoot or he might stand his ground and try and swing. It's just a feeling out process.

"He's in the UFC, he's dangerous. There are no easy fights in the UFC. I want to go in there, outbox him, and try and knock him out."

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