Filho: Performance Suffered Due to Weight Issues

Dec 18, 2007
Paulo Filho (Pictures) defeated Chael Sonnen (Pictures) at WEC 31 to retain his middleweight championship. The fight was difficult, and Filho revealed to Sherdog.com why his performance was not what fans have come to expect from him.

"I am trying to find myself in that division," Filho said. "I am looking for the best way to lose weight and recover. I think this time was the worst of all. In the last fight, I was wrong because I had to fast because of the medications, but this time I tried to do another tactic, as the Americans do, but didn't adapt myself well."

Filho made a point to credit Sonnen, too.

"He came with a strong tactic, which confused me because I thought he came to take me down, but he started striking me -- used a good tactic," Filho said. "Thank God I could control myself in the fight, and it has its positive side because everyone sees me only on top controlling my opponent, and this time they saw me underneath, overcoming difficult situations."

Despite the difficulties he encountered, Filho said he was not surprised with the tough time Sonnen gave him. The Brazilian explained that he was well aware during the most challenging moments in the fight.

"I wasn't surprised with him, in fact," Filho said. "Before the fight, I spoke with my coaches, did enough drills being underneath, looking to adapt me to these situations. Because, unfortunately, some BJJ fighters, when they face tough wrestling guys who use ground and pound, they panic, give the back, and this is the last thing you can do in a fight. I always do these drills in the academy, to be underneath. It seemed that the punches were coming hard, but only a few -- three or four -- hit hard. The rest he slammed on my neck because I did not stay in the position he wanted."

Filho said he kept his head near Sonnen's body, which protected his face.

"I noted also in fights that he lost, he was always surprised by the opponent who was underneath, by a triangle or an armbar," Filho said. "I got some good positions from where I could try to put him down, but I feared getting exhausted, getting tired and jeopardizing the rest of the fight. I felt that he was already well out of gas and that at anytime he would leave something open. He was no longer a threat to knock me out or do anything."

A BJJ black belt under Carlson Gracie, Filho has made it clear that he prefers fighting as a light heavyweight. However, he accepted the conditions that the WEC suggested to him and he will continue fighting in the middleweight division.

"I have to do what the event wants," he said. "If they want to see me in the light heavy category, of course I would fight better. I had to lose eight kilos, and although I later recovered at the time of the fight, I felt very weak, lost performance. I was apathetic. It was very difficult to lose that weight -- the last kilo was too difficult. Andre Pederneiras even forced me. It was really hard."

Filho's return to the WEC is planned for June.

"In principle, I'll be back in June because they are having problems finding opponents for me in this category," he said. "But anything can happen. It's all a matter of negotiation."
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