clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

X-Factor: Firas Zahabi helping Kenny Florian prepare for UFC 131 featherweight debut

New, comments
Photo via <a href="http://www.cdn.sherdog.com/thumbnail_crop/600/_images/pictures/20091209055337_IMG_1187.JPG">Sherdog.com</a>
Photo via Sherdog.com

Give credit to Kenny Florian, the man sure does his homework.

The former middleweight will attempt to become the first fighter to compete in four different weight classes when he makes his featherweight debut against Diego Nunes at UFC 131: "Dos Santos vs. Carwin" tomorrow night (June 11) in Vancouver.

And helping him overcome the "X-factor" that will be his first cut to 145-pounds is Firas Zahabi, head trainer at the Montreal-based TriStar gym and home to UFC Welterweight Champion Georges "Rush" St. Pierre.

"KenFlo" has opted against the strain of a practice cut, which means that today's weigh-in will be his first attempt at making the 146-pound cutoff (one pound allowance in non-title fights).

And Zahabi, like everyone else tuning into to tomorrow night's pay-per-view telecast, tells SB Nation's Jonathan Snowden he wants to "see how the weight will affect him:"

"For Kenny, of course, the real X factor is the weight. I want to see how the weight affects him. Because I really believe Kenny has it over his opponent in every realm. Standing, ground, wrestling, everything. For me, the biggest obstacle he faces is the weight cut. Whenever you do something for the first time, it's an X factor. But I'm confident. I think you guys are going to see somebody who's really smart, really strong, and really big. He gave up that advantage at 155. Now he's going to be the big guy. Let's see how that plays out ... Look at boxing at lightweight versus boxing at heavyweight. Look at wrestling at lighter weights compared to wrestling at heavyweight. The techniques change and it becomes very different. The lighter weight classes are quicker because they have less inertia to overcome. And the pace is much faster. And the techniques can vary. Look at Thai boxing. At 140 and below, the kickers are more successful. But when you reach higher weight classes, 155 and up, if you look around Europe or K-1 Max, guys who mix in boxing are more successful. Because the punch matters more. It has to do with physics. The bigger guys have more chance of knocking each other out and that makes boxing more important."

Florian's lightweight run inside the Octagon is widely regarded as a successful one; however, he failed in his two attempts at capturing the crown and was unable to procure a third shot in his last fight as a 155'er against Gray "The Bully" Maynard.

If at first you don't succeed, drop a weight class and try again.

The 35-year old Bostonian knows it's time to stop chasing belts and start wearing them. Nunes might be short on name value but he's long on talent, going 16-1 since his professional debut in 2004.

Fresh on the heels of a split decision win over Mike Brown at UFC 125, Nunes is "Gunning" for a shot at fellow Brazilian division champion Jose Aldo and could take "Ken Flo's" spot in line with a big win in British Columbia.

Will Florian reinvent himself at tomorrow night's event? Or is this the beginning of the end to his storied mixed martial arts career?

Anyone think the scale will betray him at today's weigh-ins?