South Africa

Da Rocha admits to altitude concern

2018-12-05 10:12
Conrad Seabi v Jose da Rocha (Supplied)
Conrad Seabi v Jose da Rocha (Supplied)

Cape Town - Brazilian Jose da Rocha admits fighting Conrad Seabi on short notice at high altitude is a concern, hence pacing will be an important factor in their tussle at EFC 76 in Pretoria on Saturday.

Da Rocha (9-5) agreed to face fellow welterweight contender Seabi (6-4) a fortnight ago after Luke Michael (4-3) withdrew from the main-card bout at Time Square with a dislocated knee.

The Pitbull Brothers product previously lost an interim title fight to Gunther Kalunda (5-0) in a five-round war at Sun City in the North West in September.

Da Rocha, who also made his EFC debut on short notice against two-division champion Dricus du Plessis (12-2), showed great heart against Kalunda, but quickly tired in their back-and-forth contest.

The 31-year-old concedes the effects of competing at altitude cannot be overlooked.

“I would be lying if I said I don’t (have concerns),” Da Rocha tells mmaengage.com.

“I need to pace myself better, especially in this fight as it was short notice. I can’t just rush things because if I do and not get the result I want, I may get tired and give a chance for my opponent. The only way to lessen the effect of the altitude would be to arrive three or four weeks earlier and that isn’t possible, so we’ll have to deal with it during the fight.”

Da Rocha obviously hasn’t had ideal preparations, although he comes from a camp on a high following Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire’s (28-4) defence of his Bellator MMA featherweight crown in Tel Aviv, Israel last month.

Rio Grande do Norte-based ‘Dedinho’ also gets access to training partners of the calibre of UFC flyweight king Henry Cejudo (13-2).

“The camp wasn’t ideal, but I’m ready and very confident now. Both Pitbull brothers train at the gym with us, they’re a big inspiration. Patricio’s recent win was great for the whole team and it makes us want to continue the momentum. Aside from the brothers, there are some important names on our team like Henry Cejudo and Leandro Higo.

“I train more with Patricky (Freir), ACB fighters Gleristone Santos and Wendres ‘Godzilla’. My student Augusto Matias, who if given a chance, will be a star in the EFC lightweight division, and a few other upcoming guys from our team who will certainly become important in the future. We all help each other in different ways.”

On the task ahead, Da Rocha respects the power of 39-year-old Seabi, who claims to have over 200 combined fights in various disciplines, including karate, kickboxing and Muay Thai.

However, Da Rocha is also an accomplished Muay Thai specialist with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to boot.

He is confident Seabi will be in serious trouble should their scrap hit the ground and insists he is returning home a winner.

“I think I match up well with him. His strength is on the stand-up and he has heavy hands, but his ground game is very weak. I believe he will want to keep it standing and I might strike with him. I can very well take him down and submit him.”

He adds: “I’ve went through a lot to make it to this fight, there’s no way I’m returning home with a defeat. I’m fighting as if my future is on the line and I’m gonna win it.”

Da Rocha registered first-round finishes of Cameron Pritchard (4-2) and Pupanga Tresor (3-4) before losing by unanimous decision to DR Congo’s Kalunda, a result which he disputes.

Mamelodi-born Seabi has won five of his last six fights, with that loss also coming by unanimous decision against Kalunda in December 2017. ‘Cage Wise’ has since beaten Pietie Coxen (5-8) and German Max Merten (1-3).

Read more on:    jose da rocha  |  efc

 

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