Al Matavao tests skills with Karlos Vémola at Oktagon 41: Mågård vs Lopez on April 15th.
Matavao appeared on Bowks Talking Bouts to discuss feeling a bit disrespected in this particular bout, past efforts at light heavyweight as well as middleweight leading into this 195-pound catchweight, and so much more. Excerpts from our chat are below.
Matavao’s temperament when the bout offer came his way
“When the name came across me, I honestly didn’t know who he was. Of course, when I looked him up he kind of looked familiar. Because I’ve been following MMA/ UFC since forever. When he came across me, I saw it as an opportunity. So I took it. Everything that comes my way, it’s an opportunity to be better and move up the ladder. Get in shape and form. Having to get a win over Karlos (Vémola), it’s going to be a big step for me.”
“It’ll be a great opportunity that I saw, that I know I can take on, and knowing that I can win the fight. He is a big star in Czech Republic but that doesn’t make any difference for me. Doesn’t matter who stands in front of me. It’s just another human being.”
Vémola being the reigning light heavyweight champ having a middleweight title bid lined up for around a month after this fight and Matavao’s feelings on the implications of all of that
“It’s a little bit disrespectful. Because now he pretty much; he oversees me. That motivates me to put him out. Because if he’s just going to look over me just to plan for his title fight in May, I will have to finish him.”
“I don’t really know their intentions though. Our thing is, I think they look at me as just a body bag. Just for Karlos just to get another win before his title fight. So I don’t know what’s going on. It’s just, you know, it’s a disrespect to the whole division, you know? I’m like literally not even in the top ten of the division and they picked me to fight Karlos. Why didn’t they pick any of the top ten to fight Karlos?”
“But since that made me think that I’m just a body bag. That they’re just going to throw (me) in there and have him win. Just to get another win, supposedly quote-unquote his warmup. But there’s no such thing as a warmup fight to me. A fight is a fight. You are standing in front of me, I will knock you out.”
Al Matavao vs Karlos Vémola
The resume and stylistic attributes of Vémola from Matavao’s viewpoint
“When I looked up his resume, he had pretty good wins over a lot of good names and good fighters, you know. But it still doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a one-dimensional fighter. He’s only a wrestler. Doesn’t do anything special, he’s not very special. He’s just a wrestler. A bodybuilder wrestler that will just bullrush you, take you down, (and) try to finish you on the ground. What’s so exciting about that?”
“People are coming to the arena to watch a fight. So what I’m bringing to the table, it’s a fight. Not a wrestling match because if I want to wrestle then I’ll pick him to wrestle me. But he’s a one-dimensional fighter. There’s nothing very special about him…. Nothing that will stop me from finishing Karlos on April fifteenth because I’ve got more techniques. I’m a better fighter overall.”