By FCF Staff
While much of the attention directed at Strikeforce lately has been focused on the promotion’s ongoing heavyweight grand-prix, the spotlight will soon shift to its light-heavyweight division, as champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante will face decorated vet Dan Henderson on March 5th. The bout will headline an event which will be hosted by the Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio. (Pictured: Henderson knocking out Renato Sobral)
Cavalcante (10-2) will be looking to defend the light-heavyweight belt for the first time since he defeated former champ “King Mo” Lawal last August, to extend his winning three. Henderson (26-8) is coming off a successful return to the 205lb. division, when he knocked out Renato Sobral in December, after failing to unseat former middleweight champ Jake Shields last April.
Strikeforce held a conference call yesterday to field questions for the main event competitors, as well as Jorge Masvidal (20-6) and Billy Evangelista (11-0), who will battle each other in a key lightweight match-up that same night.
Other bouts scheduled for the March 5th event, which will be broadcast on Showtime, include women’s welterweight champion Marloes Coenen (18-4) vs. Liz “Girl-Rilla’’ Carmouche (6-0), and middleweight contender Tim Kennedy (12-3) vs. Melvin Manhoef (24-8-1).
Here are some of the call’s highlights:
|Cavalcante kneeing Lawal|
How has it helped training with two guys who have beaten Dan in Anderson Silva and Antônio Rogério Nogueira?
“We train together every day. I have asked them about their fights against Dan and asked them what they think I need to do. They have told me what they think will work and we have been working on those things.”
“Against every fighter there’s a little bit of a strategy. It doesn’t really matter if I’m fighting for a title or I’m defending a title. It’s really about the fighter and every fighter has different strategies they are going to throw at you. Of course my strategy will differ for this fight as opposed to when I fought King Mo. Every fight is different and it doesn’t really make a difference if I’m fighting for a title or defending one.”
“I like the matchup with Dan wherever it goes: standing up, in the clinch, on the ground, boxing. I’ve put together a strong strategy with my training partners and I just feel really confident for this fight. Wherever the fight goes I’m well prepared for it.
“I was very excited to find out I was fighting someone like Dan Henderson. My goal is to fight the best in the world. Cardio could be the key in the fight but I’ve been training five rounds with different sparring partners, so I’ll be ready.”
|Henderson pursuing Sobral|
“I think the Columbus fans are really going to enjoy this. This definitely keeps me excited about still being able to compete in this sport and challenging myself in what is going to be a very tough opponent.”
What can we expect from you? Can we expect you to look for the knockout?
“I don’t think it’s a big secret both of us are going to be looking for the knockout. We’re both big finishers and most of our finishes have been by strikes. I definitely plan to knock him silly and pressure him the whole time.”
“(Feijao’s last opponent) King Mo and I have very different wrestling styles. He works from the outside, I work from the clinch. I thought Mo didn't use strikes to set up his wrestling. Feijao throws more looping, than straight punches, but he's dangerous standing.”
“I’ve been training for different styles of fighters depending on who I’m facing. 'Feijao' is a big challenge for me and that’s exciting for me.”
“I don’t feel small or weak at 205 so what’s the point in cutting weight.”
“I’m definitely prepared to go the full five rounds. It was good for me to not have the full nine to 10-month break between fights, although the holidays didn’t help. I’ve stepped it up a notch as far as my conditioning. I stepped on the scale this morning at 203 pounds, so my weight will not be an issue.”
What did you think about Fedor’s performance in the Grand Prix?
“It seems like his heart just isn’t in it. He just needs to get motivated to go out there and train and fight to win. I’m not sure that’s happening. But that’s something you would have to ask him. I’m just here speculating like the rest of you.”
|Evangelista kickingWaachim Spiritwolf|
Being undefeated, do you think if you win on March 5 you should be the division’s top contender for a world title?
“I’ll leave that up to Strikeforce. I’ve been competing with them for awhile and I just want a shot at the title one day. That would be great if I could be considered a No. 1 contender.”
What kind of fight are you expecting on March 5?
“I don’t really know what type of fighter Jorge is. I know he’s very long and has a reach advantage. I’m just going to see how the fight goes along and see whichever way I need to take it.”
“I think Strikeforce’s lightweight roster is one of the deeper ones in the entire world in MMA. They’ve got some good talent. I’m not really eyeing anyone. I just do what Mr. Coker tells me to do to get the world title.”
“I don’t train specifically for any one fighter. I always train generally on the things that I need to work most on. I plan on staying at 155 but I’ll fight at 170 as well. Wherever the money is at is where I’ll go. As long as they pay me I’ll go there and fight the bigger guys. It doesn’t matter to me.”
“I had trouble in my last fight (losing a decision to Paul Daley) just in my weight cutting and other circumstances. But that fight didn’t give me any confidence or take any away. I feel the same as I always have.”