Ultimate Fighter season 11 alum Brad Tavares turned heads when he scored a dominant first round TKO over Phil Baroni. But then, Tavares received the first loss of his professional career when he faced veteran fighter and wrestler, Aaron Simpson, last summer. Some fighters have difficulty dealing with their first professional loss, but the 24-year old Hawaiian has had no trouble putting it behind him and moving forward. As he explained when speaking with FightWriting:
It was a loss but I’ve learned…. if you are defeated, it’s not completely a loss because you learn from it. I learned that I know a wrestler is going to want to take me down. They’re not going to want to strike with me. He couldn’t take me down so he did the next best thing which is just hold me against the wall. Not everyone is going to want to come out there guns blazing and take a chance getting knocked out.
I learned that guys are going to try and do that to me. I let him control where the fight went.
I’ve worked on getting to my feet, working position, separating. Everything. Trying to be an all around fighter.
In the current state of MMA, if you are not evolving, you are necessarily falling behind. To even be competitive you need to perform at a high level from any potential position and be in peak physical condition. Tavares is a strong and disciplined fighter who looks to fit in very well in the middleweight division.
He is also very grateful that he has the chance to train at one of the best MMA centers in the world at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tavares has access to world class instructors and training partners and is mentored by internationally renowned New Zealand heavyweight kickboxer Ray Sefo, whom Tavares feels is like a big brother to him.
Weighing anywhere from 200-207lbs on fight day after cutting down to 185lbs the day before, Tavares is confident facing another strong middleweight, South Korean Dongi “The Ox” Yang, on UFC on Fuel TV 3, May 15th.
It’s going to be a tough fight…
I’ve come across other guys that are bigger [than me] and I feel strong.
I cut a decent amount of weight but I’ve never had a struggle cutting the weight. I’m very disciplined. I believe the weight cut is a very important aspect in terms of being professional and having respect for your opponent.
I figure that works for me and has been working pretty well.