A chance to rewrite history! Samy Schiavo ready to rematch Jean Silva.
By Eduardo Alonso
It's unquestionable that MMA has been growing worldwide in the last few years, and it's even more unquestionable that Europe is finally taking a role in our sport that it should have taken a long time ago. With the number of important countries in the old continent, the current power of the Euro, not to mention the good old Sterling pounds, and the fighting tradition in most European countries, that changes from one martial art to another in mere miles of distance, there's endless potential for shows to grow in that region in the coming years, making it also for talented fighters to appear, and creating a new market for fans and professionals of our sport. With that said, the UK has been leading the way recently with promotion Cage Rage taking charge and adding interesting fighting cards, one after the other, bringing famous fighters from countries such as the USA and Brazil to their roster and giving fans all over the world a new event to look for. The next edition of Cage Rage, coming this Saturday November 27th in England, is no exception. With a stacked card that counts with names such as UFC veterans Renato Babalu and Matt Lindland, one title fight on the card has the potential of a show stealer, as Brazilian UK sensantion Jean Silva will be rematching one of his toughest opponents ever in French striker Samy Schiavo. During my recent trip to Europe I had a chance to meet Schiavo and follow a bit of his training, and could witness his talent and commitment to fighting. If you consider that the first time these two competitors fought it was elected as the best fight of the UK in that year, you can understand the level of excitement for local fans regarding this fight, much more now that a belt is on the line. We took some time to talk with Samy Schiavo and have his thoughts on his upcoming fight at Cage Rage against Jean Silva. Take this chance to know more about this fighter, and don't be surprised if this fight steals the show once again!
SS: My big bro James was already in martial arts, and when I was 6 years old he brought me naturally. My grandfather was a good boxer in Italy and we love fighting in our family. I grew up fighting my brother when I was little, all the time (Laughs).
FCF: (Laughs) I can picture it... After many competitions, and having a brother that is also a fighter, how did you make the transition to MMA, and why did you decided to go to MMA?
SS: I practiced Tae Kwon Do and kick boxing at high level, and sincerely I was a little disappointed with the judging criteria, especially in Tae Kwon Do, and all the bizarre stuff that goes on in kick boxing. So I decide to go to MMA cause I think you're not stop by a number of rules, and you can do sincerely what you want, trying to be effective. No frustration!
FCF: You have an aggressive fighting style and is considered a stand up type of fighter, but you have been training a lot of ground game as well. Could you say that you like ground fighting as much as stand up fighting nowadays, or do you still like to brawl and trade strikes as much as possible when you fight?
SS: Yes, in general terms I prefer to stand up, but I'm pretty cool on the ground and sometimes a good submission makes me enjoy my fighting a lot! I train ground fighting for 6 years now, so I can grapple and I can strike. It's not a problem for me. The better I become on the ground, the better I'm on my feet!
FCF: You are fighting for the Cage Rage title in your division against Brazilian fighter Jean Silva. You two fought once and it was considered one of the best fights ever in the show! What happened in that fight and what was your take on that loss?
SS: I took that fight in eight days notice! That resumes all the story! I think I won the first and second rounds, and I totally ran out of gas in the 3rd, and then I lost more by exhaustion than anything else! But it was a real big battle. It was awarded best fight in the UK in 2003! I love that.
FCF: What do you believe that changed in yourself as a fighter since that fight, and what do you believe will go differently this time?
SS: Believe me, I'm not the same fighter now, I was a medium grappler and since 2 years ago I have been focusing a lot on grappling. My ground game is two times better now, and Iím stronger too, both in my body and my mind!
FCF: What do you think of Jean Silva as a fighter?
SS: He's very good with submissions and unpredictable on is feet. He's got very good heart, he will never give up! I love this guy, I love watch him fight!
FCF: I understand you were called to fight Jean in somewhat of a short notice. Does it bother you, or do you feel always ready to fight anywhere?
SS: No it doesn't bother me, but look, nobody wants to fight me in Europe. I got 6 fighters pulling out of fights with me this year! It's very difficult to find fights for me here, when they (Cage Rage promoters ) asked me to fight Jean in short notice again, 20 days this time, I said: "Ok, I don't like that but I'm ready, I know that this sort of things always happens to me."
FCF: You have been fighting in shows in England, where the scene is growing, and making a name for yourself. Is there any country that you have a dream to fight at?
SS: Two years ago, if you had asked me the same question I would have said to you: "please! I want to go to UFC, or to Pride Bushido!" but now, for sure I would be happy to go there, for sure it's a dream, but if I don't fight in Japan or USA, it's ok. No problem, cause now top opponents look at Europe, and if I won't go to the USA or Japan, Japanese and American fighters will come here, and I will be here to welcome them (Laughs) do you see what I mean? For example, my bro has fought Hayato Sakurai in 1999, in France! So one day itís going to be my time.
FCF: Also, is there any fighter in your weight division that you would like to face one day?
SS: I don't care, but all the guys at 70 kg in the top ten. I mean, it's always the same names, [Takanori] Gomi, [Genki] Sudo, [Hermes] Franca, [Yves] Edwards, [Caol] Uno, [Vitor] Shaolin, etc.
FCF: Do you think European fighters have a tough time getting into the big shows in Japan or USA? And how do you see MMA in Europe in the next years?
SS: I see it growing up a lot. Now Cage Rage are very close to be the same level as UFC, a lot of very good fighters are here in Europe. Look at Lee Murray, Ian Freeman, Joachim Hansen, and a lot of others guys that are very, very good! Europe will be soon at the same level as others countries. We need money for MMA, that's it!
FCF: Any final message to the fans?
SS: I love you! I promise to all my fans to make my best at this fight. I promise to try my best to bring in France its first Cage Rage belt! Iím very proud to be the first French guy to fight for the title in Cage Rage, and I promise to do my best for all my UK and French fans. "War in the Cage, Peace outside!"
FCF: Thanks so much for your time and good luck in this fight!
SS: Thank you, and special thanks to all the folks at FCF, take care.
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