The Forth edition of UFC Fight Island got underway in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning with an action-packed UFC 253. Yas Island is the home for the UFC and its athletes for the next four weeks.
This Saturday we are presented with 11 bouts headlined by Bantamweights Holly Holm and Irene Aldana. Amongst them competing on the card is Light Heavyweight Dequan Townsend who faces the challenge of the undefeated Serbian prospect Duško Todorović.
Dequan ‘The Tarantula’ Townsend
It’s do or die for Michigan born Dequan Townsend (21-11) on Saturday night. The Tarantula is facing the toughest spell of his career after losing his last three fights under the UFC. Townsend joined the promotion in 2019 since then has suffered unfortunate losses to Dalcha Lungiambula, Bevon Lewis, and Devin Clark. In Townsend’s defense, his three bouts with the UFC he has stepped in on short notice and not been fully prepared.
It will be interesting to see the game-plan of somebody fighting for their job. A fourth straight loss could be catastrophic. It will be a daunting task for the 34-year old but one he’s well capable of. In his previous fights, Townsend has shown the power he posses in his legs and fists which have granted him a 57% TKO ratio as well as being no slouch when it comes to the ground with 5 submissions on his record. Can Dequan Townsend climb out of the rut he finds himself in?
Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Duško Todorović (9-0) will make his long-awaited UFC debut this weekend and securing himself a main card slot. The Serbian earned his place under Dana White while successfully defeating Teddy Ash on the Contender Series by unanimous decision, a result that left Todorović unsatisfied.
The Serbian is yet to compete in 2020 after three bouts with John Phillips falling through. Looking at the record of Todorović, it’s clear to see he’s ready for the step-up in competition. He’s not a man who likes to leave the result in the hands of the judges. Eight of his 9 professional wins have come in the way of stoppage, six in the first round. An extremely dangerous man in the grappling department as well as striking. This makes for an intriguing and fun contest between both athletes.
How has everyday life been for Dequan Townsend under the global pandemic, talk to me a little about what you’ve been up to, how you’ve been keeping healthy and fit as well as keeping mentally sane?
Townsend – “It’s been tough I live in Michigan and everything is still shut down. They literally opened gyms up a week and a half ago I had to go to Colorado for this fight camp, as far as mentally sane goes I have no clue.”
What has your training schedule been like amongst all the madness, have you been able to prepare effectively and efficiently ahead of your bout with Dusko Todorovic, or has your training been restricted in some way?
Townsend – “I had to call an audible. I have been in Denver the last 6-weeks preparing at elevation fight team and pound for pound fitness.”
What’s the emotion like heading into this bout, with three back to back losses, another could be detrimental to your career inside the UFC. That must come with tremendous nerves and anxiety to deal with?
Townsend – ” My back is against the wall. This is killed or be killed and I’m willing to go in there and die! I’ve got a lot of personal stuff going on in my life right now so I plan on leaving it all in the cage.”
As stated, the last three haven’t gone your way, would you say this is your toughest point to date in your career, and have you managed to pin-point what’s been going wrong and correcting it leading into Saturday night?
Townsend – “The fights I lost weren’t just any fights, all 3 fights I stepped in as a filler on short notice, and 2 of those were in a different weight class. This is my first semi-full camp for a fight.”
Dusko Todorovic, an undefeated proven finisher coming of the contender series full of confidence. Was there any doubt in your mind to not take this fight and look for a fellow fighter on the roster coming off a loss or is turning down fights not your style?
Townsend – “Absolutely not, there was no doubt in my mind. He has holes in his game. I felt like it was the perfect matchup being a veteran of the game, he’s presented nothing I haven’t seen before.”
Have you had much time to study the game of Todorovic with your coaches, what’s your overall views on him as a competitor, and how do you see you guys match up stylistically?
Townsend – “Let’s just say we match up perfectly I studied him and got him figured out. I know why he does what he does and what it means when he does it. I don’t expect much change from him because to his credit what he’s been doing has been working for him so I don’t think he’s going to change much.”
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