Thursday, April 5, 2007


By Al Yu

Lightweight prospect Thiago Tavares will make his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 9 this tonight. Recently arriving in the U.S., the undefeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt spoke with MMAWeekly about tonight’s fight against ZST and Rings veteran Naoyuki Kotani. The Ataque Duplo Team fighter looks to make an impact in the UFC’s flourishing lightweight division.

MMAWeekly: Hi Thiago, thank you for taking time out of your schedule.
Thiago Tavares: My pleasure.

MMAWeekly: How is training coming along? Are you training with anyone in particular?
Thiago Tavares: I have been training very hard and am 100% focused on this next fight. I had special help from Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira over the last couple of days. It was really great for my game and helped in
developing my strategy.

MMAWeekly: What is it like training under the tutelage of Murilo Rupp?
Thiago Tavares: It’s great. We know each other very well and he’s a great teacher. He’s preparing me well for this fight.

MMAWeekly: Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your MMA career so far?
Thiago Tavares: I would have to say Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Gesias Calvancanti and my father.

MMAWeekly: You’re facing Naoyuki Kotani on April 5th. What do you think of your opponent?
Thiago Tavares: My opponent is very experienced. He has 26 fights under his belt and has fought against many top guys in this weight division. He is very good on the ground and has good submissions. I will try to keep the fight standing; I’m going for a knock-out. It’ll be a good fight and we will entertain the crowd.

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