By Ray Hamill — It took a little longer than expected, but local MMA pro Louis Cosce will finally make his much-anticipated return to the cage on Saturday.
The Humboldt County native has not fought in 22 months since losing his UFC debut to Sasha Palatnikov in November of 2020.
After undergoing two labral repair surgeries, the 27-year-old Cosce was scheduled to return to the cage in April, but that fight was cancelled at the last minute after he came down with COVID-19.
However, Cosce is scheduled to finally make his comeback in Las Vegas this weekend, when he takes on the experienced Trevin Giles in a welterweight fight on a UFC Fight Night headlined by Cory Sandhagen and Yadong Song.
And the former Hoopa High wrestler, who is based in Las Vegas, is eager to get back to action and confident he can get his first UFC victory.
“My focus is trying to get that Dub, and trying to get my hand raised this time around,” he said. “I think I’ve got to make sure I turn up and perform and stay composed and look for my chance.”
Cosce is 7-1 as a pro fighter, while the experienced 30-year-old Giles is 14-5, including a 5-4 mark in the UFC.
The Humboldt County fighter moved to Las Vegas with his wife and son in July of last year and has settled into the area after buying a new house there.
He also has benefitted from working out at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, the world’s first mixed martial arts center for research and training.
“The training here is awesome,” he said earlier this year. “It really doesn’t get much better than this. I love Humboldt and I miss it a lot, but it really doesn’t provide what this place does for fighters.”
The Performance Institute offers top-class training facilities for any UFC fighter to use, along with access to some of the top trainers and physical therapists in the business.
“These guys are right on top of it,” Cosce said.
And that has been hugely beneficial after he underwent two labral repair surgeries since his last fight.
But he’s fully healthy again and says he has learned from his third-round loss to Palatnikov, which was the first of his professional career after winning his first seven fights in the opening round.
“Things didn’t go my way, but I learned a lot from it,” he said. “I learned to be a lot more patient. You can’t always win in the first round. You’ve got to be smart. People here are tough.”
Saturday’s fight will be part of the preliminary card, which will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Cosce’s older brother, Orion, recently got his first UFC victory when he won an unanimous decision over Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha in a welterweight showdown at UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
And Louis was, of course, on hand to support his brother.
“I was happy for him, he did exactly what he needed to do,” Louis said. “It was pretty good for his first time back in a while.”