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Rafael Cavalcante: ‘Brazil deserves to have more belts’

Rafael Cavalcante: ‘Brazil deserves to have more belts’

June 14, 2014

The Cavalcante vs. Bader (16-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) light heavyweight fight serves on UFC 174′s pay-per-view main card at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Prelims air on FX and stream on UFC Fight Pass.

Cavalcante, 34, certainly has had to work for his success. He was trained in veterinary medicine before being convinced to train full-time by MMA legend Antonio Rodridgo Nogueira. He then became a chief training partner of ex-middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Along with impressive wins, Cavalcante suffered career setbacks, losing the Strikeforce title to Dan Henderson just one fight after taking it from Muhammed Lawal.

Now training with Nogueira’s team, Cavalcante is in the process of rebuilding his career after a drug test failure and loss in his UFC debut. This past fall, he got back in the winner’s circle with a first-round TKO.

A striking specialist, Cavalcante has never gone the distance in 17 professional fights. Bader’s wrestling background could mean he’ll need extra energy if the fight turns into a stalemate on the ground.

“I truly believe in myself,” he said. “Most of the fight happens in the mind of the athlete. The key is being able to surmount adversity. There are many fighters who can never rebound from a loss. It’s necessary to seek victory until the last second.

“Losses are part of a fighter’s life. Too often we listen to critiques from people who never say anything constructive. I refuse to listen to anyone who hasn’t gone through what I’ve gone through.

“People feel very free to talk about me. But I only care to listen to those who understand my life. If you look at my career, within four years of my debut, I was world champion. I managed to get there, despite all the doubters and haters.”

Like Cavalcante, Bader found success in his early career with “The Ultimate Fighter 8,” where he won a reality show tournament at light heavyweight. After a 5-0 run, his rise was halted by now-champion Jon Jones, and he’s since struggled to keep his momentum.

Cavalcante, though, thinks the matchup is valuable to his career. Bader sits at No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/ MMA light heavyweight rankings, and higher on the UFC’s official list.

“I’m merely making some final adjustments,” he said. “My weight is well under control. Despite having a long pause between fights, I’ve managed to remain very active this time around. This is the best I’ve felt in my life. Of course, MMA is full of surprises, and a winning fighter can always lose at the last second. But the way things have been going, I fully expect to bring this victory back to Brazil.”


Source: MMAJunkie