Leopoldo: Alpha Male of the IFL Pitbulls?

By Gleidson Venga Jun 15, 2007
New York Pitbull middleweight Fabio Leopoldo (Pictures) (5-1-0) faces Brent Beauparlant (Pictures) (5-4-0) of the Toronto Dragons June 16 in Las Vegas in the International Fight League's 2007 regular season finale. Sherdog.com recently spoke with Leopoldo, who aims for his fourth IFL victory in as many bouts.

How has the training been for this fight?

The training had been very good. I made it through uninjured and without any concern. I trained sufficiently, and stayed extremely focused. I am in the best physical condition and at the top of my game.

Do you know your adversary, Brent Beauparlant (Pictures)?

Yes, I know him. He's a Canadian wrestler that spent time on the Olympic team. He's a very tough guy, but I have always been matched-up with wrestlers. I'm very accustomed to these bouts. He has heavy hands and comes right at you. It will be one more challenge, but I am very confident.

What are the expectations for your debut in Las Vegas?

This fight really has a different importance, beyond the playoff implications. We will be in Las Vegas. For me, after Japan, it's the most important place in the world of combat sports.

You are undefeated in the IFL. How do you analyze your performance?

I am having a good campaign in the IFL, so it feels great. I'm very focused on my training. Due to my performance this season, I must fight in the IFL grand prix with four other middleweights. This will happen at the end of the year.

What do you think about the fight preparation led by Renzo Gracie (Pictures) and his team?

The training is incredible here. Renzo and Ricardo Almeida (Pictures) are very intelligent, strategically minded guys. They are responsible for the MMA and submission technique. Moreover, I'm training with Matt and Martin Rooney in boxing and Muay Thai, and hitting the wrestling mats with some experienced friends.

There will be a confrontation between Brazilians when your teammate "Pe de Pano" Marcio Cruz (Pictures) meets Rafael Feijão. What are your thoughts on this bout?

I know that Feijão is a very skilled fighter, but I'm one that believes a lot in jiu-jitsu, and "Pé de Pano" is a specialist in BJJ. Beyond the fact that he's a guy with great talent, he's very confident and very well trained in MMA. We are very happy to have a guy like him on the team and in such critical times like these.

Delson Heleno (Pictures) will compete Saturday on the same card. Are you following his training? How is his preparation for this fight?

No comments about "Pé de Chumbo," he's a really great guy. Beyond being very confident, he can adapt himself to any style -- if he's facing a wrestler, he'll wrestle. And if he'll faces a striker, he will fight standing up. The black dude is f___ing awesome, undoubtedly the best at his weight in the league.

How do you analyze the Dragons? Is there any adversary who worries you?

The other team is very tough, with really tough guys. The best fighters on their team, clearly, are the Brazilians.

The IFL innovated this format of team battles. Do you like this type of competition?

Yes, of course. This team format is very good. There are several advantages, but the most important part is a synchronized team, sharing the same objectives. For us athletes, it's great to be on salary and on a set schedule of fights. I am very happy to be part of the IFL, and mainly of the Pitbulls.

You used to live in São Paulo, Brazil and now you're living in New York. How's your life there?

It's a new life for me. I am living in a very cool place here in New York. I'm very happy with everything. Training, good people around me and above all, I got married on June 11. Can you imagine how I feel?
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