Thiago Tavares wary of next UFC opponent

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Thiago Tavares in UFC. Photo: Josh Hedges

Thiago Tavares will face off with another Brazilian in his next outing in the UFC. On August 1 the black belt will face off with Willamy Chiquerim, a form World Shooto champion (Chiquerim handed over his belt to fight in the UFC). Tavares had to following to tell Check it out:

What do you expect from your opponent?
He’s certainly a qualified athlete, a high-level athlete who comes from a great team, Nova União. He’s got a great CV, is Shooto champion. I know little about him, but I’ll start studying his fights now. I know he has a good arm triangle choke. I think it will be a great fight. From what I hear, he’s an aggressive fighter who likes winning. I don’t fold either, and I like winning, so it will be great.

You are hampered by injuries in the UFC. Why do you think you’re getting injured so much?
Unfortunately I’ve been getting injured. I got a silly injury three weeks before my last fight. It was a hyper-extended elbow, nothing serious, but it was enough to pull me out of the fight. Now last year was worse because I had to operate my knee. A guy fell on my leg while training. The fight just wasn’t meant to happen. I train hard and all high-performance athletes are subject to such mishaps.

Do you feel the UFC lightweight division is one of the most hotly disputed these days?
I’d say that, along with the light heavyweight division, it’s the toughest division in the UFC. Any of the top 15 – after a couple of good fights – could go on to a title fight. We don’t see that in most weight groups. All the fighters are at a high level technically, and any of them can beat anyone out there.

BJ Penn will have a chance to rematch Frankie Edgar for the lightweight belt. What are your thoughts on this fight?
I think BJ will win it this time. He always comes back different after he loses; defeat motivates him a lot. I think BJ wins it; Frank Edgar won’t be able to keep up.

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