This is a guest feature by Duane Finley.
There has been a lot of talk this past year that certain styles are putting MMA in jeopardy but nowhere in this debate will you find any mention of Jorge Rivera (18-7). The UFC veteran has consistently proven to be a guaranteed show anytime he enters the octagon and his aggressive, finish at all cost mentality has made him a favorite with the UFC fan base. When the UFC made their first visit to Rivera's backyard of Boston for UFC 118, Jorge was tapped to face fellow slugger Alessio Sakarra. Unfortunately injuries to both fighters forced them to withdraw from the card but because the organization knew they had a guaranteed crowd pleaser on their hands, the fight was then rescheduled for UFC 122 on Nov. 13th in Oberhausen Germany. Now back to full health Rivera will be looking to bring the scrap to Sakarra as the two combatants have been slated as the co-main event on the card. With the fight drawing closer Rivera talked to Duane Finley and in this Bloody Elbow Exclusive wasted no time at getting down to business.
"I feel great. I'm in great shape...had a good camp," Rivera answered when asked how he was feeling. "I've fought overseas a bunch of times so that isn't anything new to me. I'll be more than ready to go on Nov 13th:
When the UFC made the announcement they were finally hosting an event in Boston, Rivera's presence on the card was a given. Several weeks out from the fight Rivera suffered an arm injury that forced him to withdraw from the card and I asked how he handled having to step away from the chance to fight in his own backyard.
"It was disappointing at first. I dealt with it and then it was no big deal. I got healthy and then was given the same fight for 122 so everything is cool," Rivera stated.
Shortly after Rivera had been taken off of the card Sakarra ultimately suffered an injury of his own and had to withdraw as well. The UFC scrambled to find a replacement bout but everything they attempted to sign fell through and the bout was eventually cancelled. Now with both fighters healthy they will mix it up at UFC 122.
I posed the question to Rivera as to how he saw the matchup with Sakarra playing out and Rivera replied, "I see this going just how the fans want it to go...a stand up brawl. That's it and that is how it is going down."
Rivera will ride a streak of momentum into Germany that has seen him win four out of his last five matches. Over this stretch he has put on impressive performances against Kendall Grove, Nissen Osterneck, Rob Kimmons and his most recent victory coming at the expense of TUF alum Nate Quarry in a fight that saw Rivera finish Quarry via TKO in the second round. Sakarra, who also has a three fight win streak will be coming in on a roll of his own.
When asked if momentum will play a factor in the outcome, Rivera replied, "I'm coming forward with aggression...nothing is going to change. If he takes it to the ground or whatever, I train hard. My camp has gone the best it has ever gone and I'm ready. I don't care where it goes. I'm just ready to fight."
Over the past year the middleweight division has experienced activity that the weight class has not seen in years. Long time champion Anderson Silva was nearly dethroned in August and where it was once debated whether or not he had cleaned out the division, now there are a handful of fighters who are drawing a considerable amount of heat.
"One thing I can say is that I keep winning and they keep moving me up," Rivera said when asked to comment on the state of the 185lb divison. "A win will make four in a row, five of my last six. I'm looking to finish and I'm not looking for a decision. I'm not just beating them I'm finishing them and that is how I want it to go. I keep on doing that and everything will work out but I'm not getting too caught up in looking past Alessio right now. I just want to fight and beat him then the rest will just work itself out."
More from Rivera in the full entry.
More so than any other period in the short history of MMA, wrestling based performances have drawn the scorn of the sport's fan base. Fans, critics and fighters alike have all weighed in on how a grappling heavy game plan is hurting the sport.
When asked to share his opinion on the matter Rivera offered, "I think people pay good money to watch you fight and you should give them what they paying for. These people are paying 50 bucks a pop and the people at the stadium are paying a lot more than that. No one pays to see a boring fight. No one pays to see two guys laying on top of each other. They pay to see you engage and fight. That's Alessio's style of fighting too so I have nothing but the utmost respect for this guy. It's gonna be a tough fight and I'm looking forward to getting in there with him and grinding it out ya know? Let the better man win."
As the interview came to a close Rivera took the final moment to let UFC and MMA fans know what to expect at UFC 122 as he issued a promise that a show was on the way.
"Anytime you see Jorge Rivera's name on the card you know you are going to get a good fight," Rivera stated. "I'm looking for tough, quality opponents who want to put on good fights for the fans. They are the ones that pay us. They are the ones who pay for the tickets and they are the ones that support us. In the end I give them what they want and that's a good fight. That is what I'm going to do on Saturday at UFC 122. So if you are a fan of real fighting and guys that really lay it on the line then stay tuned for the co-main event because it's going to happen."