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J.Z. Cavalcante targeting February fight in Strikeforce

Gesias “J.Z.” Cavalcante was viewed as being one of the lightweight division’s toughest draws, and among the top 155-pounders in the world, after opening up his career with a 14-1-1 record including wins over a number of notable opponents. However, the 27-year old Brazilian has found himself of the losing end of the judges’ scorecards three of the last four times he’s fought, and as a result his shimmering reputation has dimmed a bit over the past two years.

The situation is not lost on Cavalcante, who expressed his interest in a spot on Strikeforce’s January 29 event but was rebuffed based on the card already having been booked. As such, “J.Z.” is now targeting the promotion’s following show in February with a specific opponent in mind – Josh Thomson.

Cavalcante talked about his interest in a rematch with Thomson, as well offered his take on the UFC’s absorption of WEC, in a recent conversation with Tatame.

Interestingly, Cavalcante expressed concern about the UFC recently adding WEC’s weight-classes and doing away with the company as a whole even if he appreciated the opportunity some smaller fighters were going to get.

“That was great, a very good thing, mainly for the lighter ones, of 145-pound division or below. Even the guys on the lightweight division that got mixed up…It’s good to have more competition, but it’s a bad thing though because there’ll be many cuts. Everybody who was fighting on WEC will now fight (for the UFC), but I see many people getting fired. Many people will be fired because there (aren’t) so many events for all those fighters to fight. For the guys from WEC it was excellent, but I’d prefer if WEC had grown by itself and became as huge as (the UFC) even if both events belong to the same company, Zuffa. In my mind, as an athlete, I think that for the sport it’ll be better if WEC grew by itself.”

On the subject of his future, Cavalcante was very clear about wanting to fight Thomson and the nature of his desire to do so.

“In my mind, I think I did my job. I did enough to deserve the win,” the American Top Team-trained lightweight explained of his loss to “The Punk” in October. “I dominated the first and the last rounds, lost the second one, but that’s it… I won’t start pointing out people to blame. If I have to point out my finger to someone, that someone will be myself for not doing my job completely, only 50%. I had the chance to knock him down, I had the chance to submit him and I didn’t, so my focus is to keep improving those aspects of my game and don’t stay on this ‘almost there’ level… I want to win.”

As for the specific reasons why he wants to fight Thomson again, Cavalcante replied, “I hate this doubt that people now have about that fight.” He also acknowledged an increased comfort with the process of fighting Strikeforce could help too, elaborating that,”…a new event always brings you something new. A timing gap, the scheduling, and I had a problem with the Commission there and I didn’t have time to warm up and do my things, but I was prepared for it, and my mind was also prepared for it. I’d like to have this same opportunity again, at the same place, the same judges… I’d like that, even because I’d like to make it clear I went there to fight, that I’m capable of beating him, which I did last time, but they didn’t see it that way.”

Though the 18-3 Thomson is currently scheduled to face Tatsuya Kawajiri on New Year’s Eve at “Dynamite – Power of Courage” in Japan, meaning a very short turnaround period regardless of result, a second fight with Cavalcante would undoubtedly involve as much excitement as their previous pairing did. The Brazilian has never been finished in his twenty-fight career, has a near-even split between submission/TKO wins, and has emerged victorious against respected adversaries like Nam Phan, Michihiro Omigawa, Vitor Ribeiro, Bart Palaszewski, and Caol Uno.


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