Bibiano Fernandes: “I Did Everything to Win This Fight”, DREAM Grand Prix to Continue NYE
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following his unanimous decision loss to Hiroyuki Takaya at K-1 Dynamite last New Year’s Eve, and after going the first nine months of 2011 without fighting, former DREAM Featherweight champ Bibiano Fernandes did his best to remind the MMA world of his presence on September 24th. Facing Takafumi Otsuka in the opening round of DREAM’s Bantamweight Grand-Prix, Fernandes needed just 41 seconds to finish his opponent and return to the winner’s column.
“I feel that my job is finished,” Fernandes recently told FCF. “I trained very hard for this fight. I left my family for eight weeks to train, and that made me very strong in my body and my mind. I did everything to win this fight and I feel great.”
The decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor was able to quickly take Otsuka’s back and render him unconscious with a rear-naked-choke, to record his ninth professional win.
“When I jump into the ring I feel free,” said Fernandes, when asked if there was a specific strategy in place for his bout with Otsuka, who he also defeated by unanimous decision in 2009. “Anything can happen, so I went for a strike but I saw something open. When I saw that he made a mistake I went for it….I saw him coming, I gave the hook, I ducked and went for the back. That was my moment and I wasn’t going to miss my moment.”
To prepare for the tournament, Fernandes headed south from British Columbia’s Lower Mainland region to Kirkland, Washington, and enlisted the help of MMA guru Matt Hume. The end result of the 31 year-old-fighter’s latest camp was not just a victory, but also his first stoppage win in four fights.
“I come from jiu-jitsu so sometimes I would lose a fight,” said Fernandes, while discussing his recent camp and the importance of the victory. “After I wouldn’t think, ‘oh, I lost; now I have to win.’ That’s not me. I figure out what I have to change to make myself better. Maybe I lost my focus; maybe there was something wrong with my life, maybe something else. So I would go and fix my training and my focus. Once I’ve done that I go and fight, and it doesn’t matter if I win, because I know that I made all the correct decisions; I was ready.”
“Now I’m home with my family so I want to take a break. I don’t think about my next fight yet, but we’ll see; for sure he’s a very good coach,” Fernandes added, when asked if he’ll return to AMC Pankration to prepare for the tourney’s semi-finals. “Later on I’ll speak with him about my training….I hope that I can go there, but we’ll see.”
According to Fernandes, the bantamweight grand-prix semis will take place on New Year’s Eve, however, who he will fight next remains to be seen.
“That’s not me, to say ‘okay I want to fight this guy’, said Fernandes, who was victorious alongside Antonio Banuelos, Masakazu Imanari and Rodolfo Marquez Diniz in the competition’s opening round. “I’m excited for the tournament but for my opponent I am not. Whoever they give me I’ll go and begin my training and be ready for the fight.”
Of course, not only did the September 24th card mark the first time Fernandes has fought in 2011, but it also ushered in a new stage in his MMA career where he’s competing at bantamweight.
“Before I fought at bantamweight in jiu-jitsu,” Fernandes noted. “I felt like it was the same in jiu-jitsu. When I made the weight for this fight I told my wrestling coach Colin (Daynes) this is no problem. I felt very good and strong.”