On Saturday, Dec. 9, Rafael Xavier will face Dan Vinni in a light heavyweight bout at OKTAGON 50, which takes place live from the Ostravar Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Jake Foley of Combat Press recently interviewed the light heavyweight title contender. Xavier talks about his recent bounce-back win, upcoming fight at OKTAGON 50, getting a title shot with a win on Saturday, and more.
As always, feel free to comment below or send feedback about the interview to @JFoMMATalk or @CombatPress on Twitter.
In hindsight, how did your first OKTAGON loss affect you? Did it throw you off? Did it make you more motivated?
The defeat didn’t hit me hard. I knew that I wasn’t feeling well at the time and wasn’t performing at 100-percent. My head wasn’t in the game, because I had personal problems at the time.
You’re now coming off a third-round TKO win. How important was that win to get back on track, which has also put you right back into the title picture?
It was very important for me, because I was able to show what I am capable of and that I can deliver a good fight. That put me back on track for the title.
On Dec. 9, you’re facing a gritty veteran in Dan Vinni. What are your thoughts on Vinni, and what do you expect from him in your upcoming fight?
He’s an experienced fighter, and you have to be attentive. I think he will try to show his grappling.
He’s riding an impressive win streak heading into OKTAGON 50. Have you gone back and watched some of his fights? What were your biggest takeaways?
I always watch OKTAGON in presence or online. I’ve also seen his fights. He likes ground fighting.
What is your official prediction against Vinni? Do you think the judges will be needed for this fight?
The audience won’t leave the screen for a second or go for beer in the arena. I will get the win.
With a win against Vinni, do you think you’ll need another win before getting a title shot?
No, because it wouldn’t make any sense.
What are your thoughts on Karlos Vemola and his recent 7-second knockout?
I don’t have much to say about that. He did his job – that’s MMA.
What do you think about Vemola fighting at middleweight to stay active?
I don’t understand why you keep yourself active in a catchweight/middleweight when I’m here, and I could fight him and move the light heavyweight division forward.
How do you think you match up against Vemola?
It would be a great fight, and the audience would get a spectacle.
There’s still a long way to go, but if you do become an OKTAGON world champion, what would that mean for you, especially after the childhood you had?
To show that all the hard work has paid off. That every day, every afternoon, every night was worth it. That every moment I gave up something, like going out partying as a teenager, or now being away from my family for training camps or fights, is worth it.
Last question, when your fighting career is all said and done one day down the road, what do you hope your legacy will be as a fighter?
I want to pass on that even if you are in a bad and poor situation as a child, you have to fight for your dreams and stand up for what you want. And always stay on the right and honest path.
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