Rafael Cavalcante may have been facing the chopping block if he had lost to Igor Pokrajac at UFC FN 32, but not only did he win, “Feijao” needed just over a minute to put away the light-heavyweight with a brutal series of knees and punches. It was the kind of performance that showcased why Cavalcante’s teammates have talked so highly about him for years.

While speaking to MMA Fighting.com after the win, here’s what Cavalcante had to say about the clinch game that led to Pokrajac’s extremely short night.

“I always had some good knees from the clinch, and Anderson (Silva) has taught me a lot for a long time,” Cavalcante said after the fight. “Rodrigo (Nogueira) told me minutes before the fight that Pokrajac would try the clinch as soon as he felt the power of my hands, so I had to clinch him first, that’s what I did. I landed the knees and it was over.”

“I always throw the knees to the body first, forcing him to defend himself and let his face open,” he said. “I knew he was hurt as soon as I landed the first knee. This is what I do. I’m an aggressive fighter and my physical conditioning is getting better and better. I just have to thank my team for that.”

Cavalcante rightly stated that he needed the win “bad”, as the 32 year-old was coming off a stoppage loss to Thiago Silva and a no contest result versus Mike Kyle (as the Brazilian failed his post fight drug test). It’s worth noting that prior to those two scraps, “Feijao” KO’d Yoel Romero, who has been making some waves lately in the UFC.

While Cavalcante has a ways to go before he reaches that top five ranking spot he desires, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

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