Tuesday is fast approaching, and with it, the UFC On Fuel TV 3 card. With less than four years of experience under his belt, native Hawaiian, Brad Tavares, hopes to get his sparkling record back on track after a tough loss to Aaron Simpson, last July. I recently had the opportunity to get a quick interview with Brad to get some insight from him about his upcoming bout with Dongi Yang.
Stephie Daniels: What do you know about your opponent, other than the fact that you both have fought Court McGee?
Brad Tavares: You know, I've watched his fights and seen his record, but I've only had the opportunity to watch his UFC fights. I've seen him lose two and win one. He has an awesome record, 10-2, and his losses came from decisions. By looking at his wins, you can tell he likes to finish fights, very much like myself. I know he's going to be tough.
I'm going to be well prepared for this. I'm hungry. I haven't fought in such a long time that I can't wait to get back in there.
Stephie Daniels: How are you feeling after having this long layoff?
Brad Tavares: I'm feeling pretty restless. I just want to get in there and fight. I was dealing with an injury, but that's all good now, and I'm 100%. I know everybody's been wondering where I've been, and it will be nice to put on a good show for the fans, show them that I'm still here.
Stephie Daniels: What happened to your scheduled fight last year with Tim Credeur?
Brad Tavares: Well, about two weeks into us signing, he got hurt. Then, about a week out from when the fight was scheduled, I ended up getting injured. It was one of those things where my coach, Ray Sefo, didn't want me to fight because I wasn't 100%, and it could've just gone really bad in the fight, so I had to pull out.
It left a sour taste in my mouth because nobody ever wants to pull out of a fight. It sucked even more for me because my whole family is from Hawaii, and everybody came up for this fight. It wasn't just my mom and my girlfriend, either. My grandma and my uncle, aunts, cousins, the whole shebang. My whole family was in Vegas for that fight, and for me to have to pull out a week before, it just really sucked.
Stephie Daniels: How has your experience been, training with Ray Sefo?
Brad Tavares: It's amazing. I'm not one to really be starstruck or anything like that, but when I first moved to Vegas, I was training at the TapouT gym. Ray came in for sparring, and I just couldn't believe it because he's a guy that I grew up idolizing. I used to always use him on the K1 game on Playstation.
Not only for the fact that he is who he is, but it's the type of person he is. It's about how humble and how nice of a person he is. That really drew me to him.
A year later, I ended up at Xtreme Couture, and he's a coach there, so I asked if he'd be willing to train me, and luckily for me, he said yes. It's been a good ride for me. I moved out here to get this type of training, and to train with someone like Ray Sefo, I can't be more grateful. I really feel like he's a big brother.
Stephie Daniels: Have you completely relocated, or are you splitting your time between Hawaii and Vegas?
Brad Tavares: I'm splitting my time. I'm a resident of Nevada, so I can buy guns here, but for the most part, I split my time. I'm still in Hawaii a lot. After the injury, I couldn't really train, so I went to Hawaii to heal up and spend time there.
Stephie Daniels: Have you brought in anybody specific to train with to emulate Yang?
Brad Tavares: I didn't bring anybody in because the only thing he presents that might be different or present a challenge is that he's a southpaw. He doesn't really have a crazy body type or style that I need somebody to portray or anything like that.
I'll just rely on the training partners that are here; Martin Kampmann, Jay Heiron and Evan Dunham, who is a natural southpaw. I've had Jay and Martin stand southpaw for me, and that's been a big help. I'm really lucky to have training partners that are willing to change up their own style to benefit me. I do the same for them, and that's really what the team is all about.
Stephie Daniels: Do you see any weaknesses in Yang's game that you can capitalize on?
Brad Tavares: I don't want to say he doesn't train hard, but it does seem like he kind of slows down as the fight goes on. If that's the case in our fight, I think I'll definitely be able to outwork him.
I'm always looking for that first round knockout or submission, but if the fight does go on, then I think I'll have the clear advantage in the cardio area.
I don't think his ground game is all that great. I've seen him dominate a few of his opponents on the ground, so I think I'll have an advantage there, as well.
I also think I have better striking than he does. I guess my advantage will be all over. It's going to be a fun fight,. I don't think that I'll clearly devastate him in any one department, but I do think that overall, I'm the better fighter, and I definitely see me winning this fight.
Stephie Daniels: He seems to have some trouble with tough wrestlers. Are you puttin a little extra focus on your wrestling, or just proceeding with your training, business as usual?
Brad Tavares: Not any more than I normally do. I think I want to have fun with this fight. He seems like a striker, so I'll see how it goes there, and I'll go for that knockout. I don't think he's ever been knocked out in his career, so I want to be the first one to do it. I'll look for that first.
I'm an all around fighter, and I'll take the fight where it needs to go. If I get in there, and he's one of those guys that's got an incredible chin, and I can't knock him out, then I'll definitely take him down. Maybe I'll get a finish there. We'll see. Being that I've been away for so long, getting a first round finish would definitely refresh everybody's memory of who I am.
Stephie Daniels: Do you kind of appreciate the fact that you're on the Facebook portion of this card, because not only do you get to kick off the Fuel card, but since Fuel isn't in as many homes as FX or Fox, you have that accessibility factor going in your favor?
Brad Tavares: I really like that Dana and Lorenzo and those guys have been putting on the Facebook cards, because the UFC is so big now, and has so many great fighters, that you pretty much want to see every single fight on a card. Before, unless a fight ended up being a knockout, they wouldn't show it.
Now, with Facebook, you have an opportunity to see every single fight. That's really great for both fighters and fans alike. Don't get me wrong, everybody wants to be on the main card, but I'm just glad everyone will be able to see my fight, especially my family back home that won't be able to make it out.
Stephie Daniels: With such a long layoff, ideally, how many more times would you like to fight this year?
Brad Tavares: I'd like to get in as many fights as possible. If I'm healthy after this fight, I want to get right back in there, but I'm not going to push myself into anything stupid, because I don't want to get injured again and be out for a long time. Ideally, though, I'd like to get in three fights this year.
Follow Brad via his Twitter, @BradTavares