Bart Palaszewski Admits He “Underestimated” Hatsu Hioki, But “I Can See Why Some Japanese Fighters They’re Not Doing So Hot. The Travel Kills You”
Team Curran Vet Preparing With Jackson’s MMA For Diego Nunes
By Kelsey Mowatt
After falling to the highly regarded Hatsu Hioki in February, veteran Bart Palaszewski wasn’t looking to take a breather in terms of the quality of his next opponent, and the UFC clearly obliged. Palaszewski has been tapped to fight noted featherweight Diego Nunes this Friday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the man known as “Bartimus” wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Yeah; he’s a very talented striker, and I think I’m okay standing up, so I think it will be an interesting fight,” said Palaszewski, when asked if he’s excited to be fighting another of the division’s more established fighters. “I think for the first time in a while I won’t have to worry about takedowns.”
Palaszewski (36-15) has faced several accomplished wrestlers and grapplers as of late, including Kamal Shalorus, Tyson Griffin and the aforementioned Hioki. While all three bouts weren’t grappling dominated affairs–like Palaszewski’s quick KO of Tyson Griffin last October–the threat of a takedown has been present.
“If the opportunity is there I’m not going to not take the takedown,”said the 29 year-old-fighter, when asked if he may look to put the wrestling skills he’s been developing to use against Nunes. “I think the UFC put this fight together to see a fight, so, I’m not going to disappoint, but if I see the takedown is there I’ll definitely take it. Who wouldn’t?”
“I worked on my wrestling a lot for the Tyson fight,” Palaszewski added. “For my Hioki fight it didn’t work out too well, but I’ve kept working on it and it’s a MMA fight. You can’t be too one dimensional…It’s going to be a good fight though; I’ve been looking for a fight where I wouldn’t have to worry about takedowns and just put on a good show.”
Although Nunes (17-3) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to accomplished striker Dennis Siver, the Black House fighter’s stand-up skills have played an integral role in the 6-3 record he’s recorded with ZUFFA.
“He’s obviously a good Thai boxer; he has good hands, good speed and good kicks,” noted Palaszewski when asked to assess his opponent. “I’m going to stay generic with it all. Leave it at that.”
A win for either man at the UFC on FX 5 card would not only be a great way to rebound from their recent defeats, but also to reassert their presence in the featherweight division as 2013 nears.
“We’re both coming off losses, so, maybe they’re giving us a fight where we can do our best, perform well, and put on a good show,” said Palaszewski, while discussing the matchmaking thought process that might have gone into the fight.
After his highlight reel stoppage of Griffin last October, Palaszewski was granted an opportunity to place himself at the top of the featherweight ranks with a UFC 144 bout versus Hioki. In the end, however, Hioki demonstrated the multifaceted skill set that has entrenched his notable ranking.
“It sucked; I definitely underestimated Hioki. I thought it would be an easier fight,” said Palaszewski, while reflecting on the unanimous decision loss he incurred versus the Japanese fighter in Saitama. “I also decided that definitely, I’m not going to fight again overseas; I hate to use it as an excuse, but the travel, the weight cut, the time change, it was horrible…I can see why when some of the Japanese fighters come over to the U.S. they’re not doing too hot. The travel kills you.”
One of the interesting developments to take place since the defeat, is the Team Curran veteran’s decision to start training at Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico.
“I’ve pretty much been with just one team, except for training with Miletich during the IFL years,” Palaszewski told Full Contact Fighter. “That was it. I’ve never gone to train outside with other teams. I’ve been extremely loyal to Team Curran, but I’m approaching the tail end of my career, and I wanted to see what else was out there; train with some of the people I watch on TV and idolize.”
“On any given day down here you’ve got 10, 15 guys that fight in the UFC and everyday is a war,” Palaszewski added. “Team Curran is extremely established, some great fighters, but the amount of sparring partners here is awesome. The coaches are great as well. Again, nothing against Team Curran; I was with them for 12, 13 years, so obviously they were doing something right.”