Vladimir Matyushenko (left) wants to test Jason Brilz’s stand-up at UFC 129. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Vladimir Matyushenko likes his chances on the feet against UFC 129 opponent Jason Brilz. “The Janitor” also likes his chances of forcing a standup fight when they meet April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
“He’s a good ground-and-pounder, but I can defend it very well and keep him on the feet and make it a striking match that will be awesome,” Matyushenko said recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’ve been training my striking skills for a while now and I couldn’t show it. I think the fans are expecting me to do it and all my friends [are too]. I kind of want to show it to myself that I can do it. I do it in sparring and training all the time, but I wish I can show it on the stage in the cage.”
The stage will be a big one in Toronto with the UFC reportedly selling 55,000 tickets for the event. If an enormous audience isn’t enough to get inside a fighter’s head, Matyushenko is expecting Brilz’s layoff to affect him.
“Not fighting for a year, it kind of puts you in a situation where you start getting nervous and stuff like that. It’s the mental preparation that’s a big deal,” Matyushenko said. “I think he’s going to be nervous.”
Brilz hasn’t fought since May 2010. However, that last performance was an impressive one against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114. Brilz dropped a controversial split decision but put himself on the map in the light heavyweight division.
Matyushenko had planned on fighting him last November, but a back injury removed Brilz from the bout.
“I was ready for him back then. I’ve almost been training for him for half a year now,” Matyushenko said. “I think it’s a good matchup. He’s a good wrestler. … It’s kind of hard to say I know him inside and out because first of all, he hasn’t fought in almost a year. Things can change. He may change his technique in that time. That’s kind of a hard aspect of preparation for this fight.”
Matyushenko fought replacement Alexandre Ferreira instead in November, stopping him in the first round. The win was Matyushenko’s fourth in five fights. The lone loss in that stretch came to Jon Jones, who won the UFC light heavyweight title in March.
“I got in a bad position and I didn’t get out of there fast enough,” Matyushenko explained. “Jones just used it well. It looked like he did his homework and he did exactly the same thing that I usually do to other fighters.”
Although complimentary of Jones, Matyushenko said he’d “definitely” like another crack at the titleholder. He’d use a different strategy in a rematch.
“You have to put the pressure on him and actually get in exchanges and get in a fight,” Matyushenko said. “You saw if he doesn’t get hit, he’s got a long reach and he uses that as an advantage. You have to bring the fight to him. It’s not easy. It’s going to be hard, but I think that’s the only possibility.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 43:35).