Thiago Tavares managed to get what so many of his compatriots crave: a berth at UFC Rio. Come August 27 the black belt will have his chance to fight before his countrymen, facing Spencer Fisher in the HSBC Arena.
“It’s what everyone’s been wanting and my fight was one of the first ones confirmed. I’ve been dreaming of this; it was my goal. But to be honest I didn’t expect it to happen. I’m overjoyed,” he told GRACIEMAG.com.
Coming off a loss, the fighter knows he’ll need to put in a good showing for the promotion. The fact he’s fighting in Brazil may mean greater pressure, but Thiago says he’s used to it.
“There’s always pressure when you fight in the UFC. Sometimes the pressure is to get your contract renewed, to move up in the ranks or when your opponent is really dangerous… All that comes with being a fighter, and we have to deal with it whether we want to or not. It’s another fight I’m going to face as best I can. It’s a bit different, since it will be in Brazil, but I’m going to do what needs to be done. I feel that if it affects me at all it will be positively, because I’ll be among my fans and my friends. What we feel a lot of the time we’re away from home our opponents will get to feel this time.”
With that in mind, the Florianópolis native turns his attention to his adversary.
“He’s really dangerous, has knockout power, can end a fight at any moment, and he has a solid chin. I don’t think he’s ever been knocked out, and he handles himself well in tight situations. He’s been in fights where he gets battered bad and still comes out on top, and he should show up in peak form. The fight will be a show-stopper. I feel it will be one of the fights of the night.”
However aware he is of Fisher’s striking savvy, Tavares isn’t likely to resort to trying to keep the fight on the ground.
“I’m going to do MMA. I’m going to stand and trade and do to him everything that needs doing. I’ve got my boxing up to speed. Everyone gets hit, sometimes they might fall. I’m going to stand and bang and if he goes to the ground I’m ready for that too. In MMA we have to be ready for wherever the fight ends up,” he said in closing.
Check out the card and stay tuned to GRACIEMAG.com:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
August 27, 2011
Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami
Maurício Shogun vs. Forrest Griffin
Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher
Luiz Banha vs. Stanislav Nedkov