“The fight will end in his speciality: Cigano on the feet and Mir laid on the ground,” says Luiz Dorea, boxing coach to Junior Dos Santos.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will defend the title for the first time tomorrow, facing former champion Frank Mir in Las Vegas, USA. For the challenge, the Brazilian has undertaken heavy training and sparring with the aim of keeping the belt and consolidating himself as one of the best fighters of the world.
Fighters Only Brazil's Eduardo Cruz talked to his head coach, boxing guru Luiz Dorea, who spoke about the replacement of Alistair Overeem with Frank Mir, the change in training and his expectations for the main event of UFC 146. Check the complete interview below:
Fighters Only Brasil: What has changed in Junior dos Santos training since the UFC announced Frank Mir as the replacement of Alistair Overeem?
Luiz Dorea: There was a total change related to the strategy and technical aspect. One is a striker and the other a grappler. Frank Mir is good at every martial art but has his speciality in the fight on the ground. Overeem is striker who won the K-1 tournament, so there were many changes.
Mir is southpaw and Overeem is right handed, so there were technical and strategic changes. We brought left handed sparring partners but Cigano is already used to them. Everything always has its the first time and he knows that in sporting world it happens, but his mind is good and he adjusts himself quickly.
FO: From a technical point of view, was the change was better for Junior? He is accustomed to facing grapplers who get into the Octagon with the objective to take him down?
Luiz Dorea: In our case, it is the continuity of the work. What has changed was specific to Frank Mir’s technique and strategy. As I told you, Cigano is young, for me he is a prodigy, a phenom who became the world champion of the hardest weight class; the heavyweight division. He assimilates the techniques easily, adapts himself very quickly and also learns rapidly. For us, this is the continuity of our work.
FO: Mir recently stated that Dos Santos ‘goes away from the mat as the devil does from the cross’. To what extent is that true?
Luiz Dorea: I think he should worry more about training because you can’t win a fight with your tongue. I don’t know what to say. The strong point of Cigano is to punch and the weak point of Mir is to be hit, so the fight will end in his speciality: Cigano on the feet and he laid on the ground. Anyone who has a mouth speaks what he wants but let’s see if he will keep talking the same after the fight. First, he will have to put Cigano down but let’s see if he stands a punch.
FO: What’s your analysis of Frank Mir’s boxing?
Luiz Dorea: Frank Mir has good boxing. He already won many bouts by knockout, he punches in line, is a left handed slugger who knows to hit with both hands but I believe so much in Cigano, who has beat high level strikers.
He’s a mixed martial artist who has boxing as his main feature. The more time the fight stays on the feet, the more chances we will have to knock him out. Cigano fighting as he always did, looking for the knockout, won’t give him a slight chance. We’re going to box with efficiency and technique. We already have a scheme set and we’re going to put it in practice in the fight to get the knockout victory for sure.
FO: What would you tell me about the work undertaken along the camp?
Luiz Dorea: The camp was wonderful, as it was in the previous for Cain Velasquez. Unfortunately, fifteen days before the fight he injured the knee but, besides that, it was a wonderful camp. This latest one was just the same. We brought renowned coaches Glaube Feitosa, Hebert Teixeira, Gleidson Mamute, Rodrigo Artilheiro, Paulao, Yuri Carlton…
Cigano invested money to be in the company of the best guys. Rodrigo Nogueira came and helped us so much as well to accomplish all the steps of the training: power, speed, endurance. Cigano is in the best shape. He was very well for the fight versus Cain and today he is much better, quicker, stronger and more experienced.
He matured a lot in that fight versus Velasquez and he deserves everything that he conquered in UFC. The fighter is not only summarized technically and physically but also psychologically. The great champion must have a good mind and Junior has it. The biggest opponent of an athlete is his own mind and Cigano knows what he wants, he is secure and we will get another victory if God blesses us, and we will celebrate the title in Brazil.
FO: So the expectation from the team is for a KO win, right?
Luiz Dorea: The work, with the due respect, was towards that goal - the technique of moving, counter-attack, infight, defense and anticipation. We are prepared for this the same as a center-forward is ready to score a goal and a jiu jitsu practitioner is trained to submit. Cigano will look for the knockout, he is a innate slugger.