By Red Mattos:
UFC Lightweight Anton “Wolverine” Kuivanen recently sat down with MMA Viking to give his thoughts on his upcoming second UFC fight, and hopefully his first UFC win. His only other fight in the UFC being a unanimous decision loss to Justin Salas back in February on the UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger card.
This is a pretty quick turnaround for a fight, especially given the depth of the lightweight division. When Anton was asked what he thought when he got the call he responded by saying, “I felt amazing. We had been talking about asking for the second fight for the last three weeks with my manager Olli. We didn’t know when the second fight would come but I was confident that it would take place eventually. When Olli called me that this fight was agreed, there was a huge smile on my face.”
Anton shared a little bit about his training and what he’s working on now. “More work, higher intensity. We’ve also focused on getting me more and new high level sparring partners. I’ve been to few wrestling practices at the Helsinki Painimiehet wrestling club. One of their top guys Petteri Martikainen, who is a very talented young wrestler, will wrestle with me regularly at GB Gym. We have done a lot of heavy grappling training for the past few weeks but now we’re going to get some new striking training going on too. We’re going to do stand-up sparring with Miikka Ohisalo, who is really good kickboxer, and with Tatu Nielsen who has a long history in boxing. For MMA sparring we got a good training group here at GB Gym with Musa Amagov (4-0), Kai Puolakka (7-3), Jussi Halonen (2-1, national team member in wrestling) and others. Of course like before there will be also some guys from the Helsinki area coming in to spar here.”
Anton’s next opponent, Mitch Clarke, also lost his UFC debut. This was back in 2011 and it was to Josh Cholish via TKO. The interviewer points this out, and asks Anton if he thinks whoever loses their match will be cut from the UFC, and whether or not this adds any extra pressure. Anton agreed that there is more pressure, adding, “Yes the name of the game for this fight is clear: eat or be eaten. There is some pressure because of it but I need to be able to use it as fuel. Fuel for the fire. I still feel confident in my game and in the work we do here. In June I’m going to Calgary to win with a finish, with a knock out. I will put a beating on Clarke and then enjoy my summer vacation.”
When asked if he thought fighting in the UFC would be easier the second time around Anton said, “Yeah I believe that it’ll be easier. This time I know what to expect when we get to Calgary. All the medical check-ups, paperwork, photo shoots, PR work and so on. It’s easier to relax when you know what lies ahead. I also got more time to prepare and to have a longer camp. The starting point for this fight will also be totally different I think. Before getting signed with the UFC we focused a lot on adjusting the game plans so that we would maximize the chance to win. This meant that we changed my fighting style and it was evident also in my UFC debut. I got to open up my game more and put the pressure on my opponent. I will bring back the aggression to my game without getting reckless. There’s no room for stupid mistakes in the Octagon.”
Anton ended the interview saying that he’s “definitely excited” to be fighting in Canada, and thanking his team, sponsors and girlfriend. The fight takes place July 21 at UFC 149 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.Tags: featured, MMA NEWS, Strikeforce, strikeforce news, ufc news, UFC on FOX, UFC on FOX 2, ufc on fox 3, UFC on Fuel, UFC on FX