When UFC Middleweight Brad Tavares (8-1, MMA) came on MMA Fight Corner Saturday to talk about his upcoming fight on UFC on FUEL TV 5 against Tom Watson (15-4, MMA), he could hardly contain his excitement to have the opportunity to fight overseas in Nottingham, England.
The FUEL card is set with 12 bouts on the card. Watson is a native of England and a seasoned MMA fighter who’s making his UFC debut. He’s won the middleweight title at BAMMA 3 and defended the belt 3 times. He also held the middleweight title with Ultimate Challenge MMA. When he makes his UFC debut, he’ll have his hands full trying to hold off a fired up Tavares.
“I’m actually pretty excited about this fight. It’s gonna be my first time going overseas to fight. It’s going to be an experience. At first, I was kind of weary of it, like ‘Wow I’m going to go so far traveling this far away, I’m not gonna know anything – the weather, the food, the climate.’ But I got past that, and I’m just excited to fight him,” Tavares said. “I know Tom Watson. I’ve been hearing about him just through the MMA news and just through keeping up on guys in the weight division. And Tom Watson is no pushover. He’s a tough opponent. He comes from a very good camp and he’s a champion at BAMMA.”
Tavares spoke highly of Watson, but is determined to spoil his UFC debut. “I’m excited for it. he’s a striker. It looks like he likes to go in there and put on a show and likes to throwdown,” Tavares stated of his opponent. “So, I’m looking forward to this fight I’m not looking past him in one bit. You know, people they tend to not give people making their UFC debut enough credit. But I know he’s a strong opponent, and he’s fought his way and he deserves his shot in the UFC. And I’m sure he’ll do well there, but it’s gonna start off with a loss against me.”
Watson will definitely be at an advantage when they step into the cage on his hometurf and because he has titles won in other MMA organizations. Despite the achievements Watson has to his name, Tavares spoke of the possibilty that Watson experiences ‘Octagon Jitters’. “It might happen, it might not happen. He might feed off of it. It’s in England, he’s from England so he might just feed off it it. He might be a guy that likes the big lights, the big crowds, and all the noise. I’m counting on him to bring a good, hard fight and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Tavares competed on 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter and made it all the way to the semi-finals before losing to Court McGee. Prior to making it on the UFC’s reality show, Hawaiian-native Tavares had gone 5-0 in his MMA career fighting only on the island of Oahu. He later made the move to Las Vegas, Nevada and began training with Xtreme Couture. Since The Ultimate Fighter, Tavares has gone 3-1 in the UFC. His last win over Dongi Yang in Fairfax, Virginia, was the furthest he’d ever traveled to fight, until now. But heading away from the home front, hasn’t shook Tavares’ mindset at all.
“It’s gonna be my first time and like anything in life I take it head on,” he said of the upcoming bout in Nottingham, England. “I’m going to have my main coach with me, Ray Sefo. He’s been through it all, not only as a fighter himself, but as a coach. He’s been all over the world with our guys. He’ll know what to do. So, if I have a question I can go to him,” Tavares said.
Come fight night, Tavares said he’ll only be focused on winning. The spectacle of being in a foreign land won’t be an intimidating factor for him in the least. “It’s not something like I’m gonna panic and it’s going to ruin my fight. I hope it doesn’t affect me in that way. I’m that type of person, I’ll rise to the occasion and I’ll figure it out. I’m not too concerned with it. But we’ll see how it goes, this is going to be my first time going this far to fight.”
The main event on the September29th UFC on FUEL TV 5 card will be Stipe Miocic vs. Stefan Struve. British hitman, Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy, will also be featured on the card at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, and is fighting former Ultimate Fighter season 7 winner, Amir Sadollah.