Maldonado looks to avoid UFC cuts, makes camp changes in preparation for Hollett

Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Fabio Maldonado is changing up his fight camp in preparation to face Roger Hollett at UFC on FX 8.

Fabiano Maldonado knows that his leash is short. He's earned a special place in the hearts of fans (and in the wallets of the Fertitta brothers) for his all out, boxing-centric style. He's 1–3 in his short UFC tenure, but won fight of the night in a losing effort against Kyle Kingsbury at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and ingrained himself in the mind of fans around the world for his gutsy performance in a TKO loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 153.

At the UFC 153 post fight press conference, Dana White went out of his way to let fans and media know that Maldonado would not be released from the promotion.

"If we cut that guy, we deserve to be beat with a stick. No, he won't be cut."

That does not mean that recent plans to trim the roster have fallen on deaf ears. Maldonado has responded to the increased pressure that a 3 fight losing skid and a climate of contraction creates, and is changing up his fight camp in hopes of improving his overall MMA game.

The fighter has revealed to Tatame that he is bringing in BJJ grappler Ricardo Ribeiro to work on his ground game and wrestling defense, as well as Patricio Freire, the younger (and more successful) of the 'Pitbull' brothers, to work on his Muay Thai and corner him on fight night. He has also been sparring regularly with Demian Maia and Daniel Sarafian. All told a very notable stable of fighters to help him get ready for Hollett.

It's hard to tell whether the changes he's making will ultimately be the right ones. Maldonado spoke to his belief that Hollett will be looking to get the fight to the ground, and that he has been preparing with that in mind. Certainly, increased takedown defense, Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai would be welcome additions Maldonado's game. If he can blend them with his formidable body punching style they may provide him with the tools he needs to rise into the middle of the light heavyweight division. He's sitting at around 225 lbs two and a half weeks out, so physically it would appear that his camp is running on schedule and that the changes he's making haven't impacted his preparation, perhaps that means they're the right ones.

UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold takes place on May 18th in Jaragua do Sul, Brasil. Maldonado vs. Hollet is scheduled to kick off the Fuel portion of the fight card. You can check out the full rundown of scheduled fights here.


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