K-1 Legend Ray Sefo Plans to Fight Often in 2012, Says Overeem “By Far” Has More Ways to Beat Lesnar
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Ray Sefo continues to hone the striking skills of various athletes at the renowned Xtreme Couture facility in Las Vegas, the decorated fighter and veteran trainer is still planning to showcase his abilities for kickboxing and MMA fans throughout the world. After competing just once this past year, in a reserve match for Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand-Prix against Valentijn Overeem in February, it appears as though Sefo will have a much busier schedule in 2012.
“I really hope so,” Sefo told FCF, when asked if he plans on competing more often in the coming months. “I’ve already had an offer for a K-1 style, stand-up fight in Europe, so, we’re just waiting on confirmation for that. The promoter is actually in Croatia, which could be a three or four fight deal, which would be great. I want to do a little more pro wrestling in Japan and MMA as well, so I’m definitely looking forward to being more active next year.”
Despite the fact that the New Zealand veteran will soon turn 41, Sefo remains as confident as ever in his abilities, due to his continued dedication to training and his ongoing tenure at Xtreme Couture.
“Absolutely,” said Sefo, while discussing his evolution as a mixed-martial-artist. “My fight against Valentijn, he’s a great fighter, he’s been around, and no excuses, a fight’s a fight, but I just didn’t have time to prepare to do any groundwork at all. I was working on Vitor’s (Belfort) camp at the time…We knew that most of the submissions that Valentijn would go for would be either a kimura, guillotine or anklelocks, so we drilled all that that week. But he threw something completely else at me.”
“That really surprised me,” Sefo noted about the neck crank Overeem used to win the fight. “I didn’t know what it was until a few days later after I had watched the fight…It is what it is, but I feel like I’m getting a lot better at the ground game. Outside of the coaching, I try to wrestle and do jiu-jitsu at least once a week, just to keep up with the game.”
Right now, much of Sefo’s attention is focused on the aforementioned Belfort, who is continuing to prepare for his January 14th bout with prospect Anthony Johnson.
“I have a lot of respect for Anthony,” said Sefo. “I think he’s a great fighter; he doesn’t have to cut to 170 anymore so I think he’s going to be very dangerous. His stand-up is solid, he likes to high kick as well, and his wrestling is solid. He’s a complete fighter…as with any fighter, you train for their strengths and weaknesses, and we’re prepared for it.”
Although Johnson has drawn praise for his striking abilities in the past, Belfort is widely recognized as having two of the fastest and most powerful hands in the sport.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Anthony will definitely try to take that fight to the ground,” Sefo noted. “He’s a well rounded fighter, so Vitor is working a lot on his wrestling and jiu-jitsu, so his submissions are awesome, so we’re not too concerned if the fight hits the ground…Anthony can be dangerous on the ground too though, so it’s an interesting fight.”
Recently, the Xtreme Couture team was thrown a curveball, when it was announced that Evan’s Dunham’s original opponent, Paul Sass, was withdrawing from the January 28th, UFC on FOX 2 card due to injury. The resilient, veteran lightweight Nik Lentz was named as the replacement.
“To be honest, I haven’t actually seen Nik fight yet; I just found out last night,” Sefo said. “I think Evan’s going to get the footage of Nik this week. I believe Nik has more a wrestling game, which is nothing new to Evan who has fought some of the best wrestlers out there, but I know from Evan he thinks it’s a tougher fight.”
Xtreme Couture has also been in the headlines as of late, due to Alistair Overeem’s announcement a short while back, that he was going to prepare for Friday’s UFC 141 bout with Brock Lesnar out of the Vegas gym.
“I didn’t really get to spend much time with him at all, as it’s no secret that he got called back to Holland to spend time with his mom,” Sefo said. “Good for him. That’s something that’s important and it was something that he had to do. The little time that he did spend here he said he loved it here and that he was comfortable…I’d assume that he’ll back for his next camp, but I guess we’ll see.”
And Sefo’s prediction for Friday’s heavyweight bout?
“I think Alistair by far, has a lot more ways to win this fight, so if I had to put money on it, I would bet on Alistair to win the fight,” said Sefo. “It should be a good fight.”