One of the more interesting scraps booked for today’s UFC Fight Night 32 card in Goiania, Brazil is the light-heavyweight tilt between Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Igor Pokrajac. Not only does it have the potential to be a short and violent affair, thanks to the stopping power of both men, but it’s a crucial fight for the 205érs. Cavalcante is coming off a knockout loss to Thiago Silva and has just one win in his last three fights, while Pokrajac is winless in his last three outings.
Prior to his recent setbacks, Pokrajac had won three fights in row, which included a memorable KO win over Krzyzstof Soszynski. Since the Croatian fighter has an impressive finishing rate, however, the opposition has often looked to put Pokrajac on his back or grind him out along the cage. As a result, Pokrajac recently relayed to MMA Junkie.com that he’s taken steps to produce the kind of “open fight” he excels in.
“There is always improvement,” Pokrajac said. “There is always something you can work on in your game. I like an open fight. I don’t like somebody just putting me on the mat like Jimmo stayed on me and like other fighters who have a plan just to win. They put me on a cage and let the judge decide the fight. I want to change that, so I did a lot of wrestling this time, and I’m not going to repeat that again.”
“I think a big problem was I didn’t have enough sparring partners that pushed me to the limit,” Pokrajac said. “I changed my team. I have my conditioning coach. … I took my level up in fighting.”
It will be interesting to see whether Pokrajac will have to put his wrestling skills to use against “Feijao”, who certainly isn’t known for shying away from stand-up battles. That said, considering he’s a BJJ black belt and would likely have a decided edge on the mat, he could look to take the fight down. We shall see soon enough.
If you’re curious, Cavalcante is a sizeable favourite in the -220 to -325 range on the betting lines.
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