Long-time mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Vladimir Matyushenko will return to the cage this weekend (Sept. 13, 2013) when he takes on Houston Alexander in the co-main event of Bellator 99.
At 42 years old, "The Janitor" says he isn't ready to hang up his gloves just yet, especially on the heels of two consecutive losses to current No. 1 Light Heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 141 and more recently The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 winner Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 6 this past January.
It's the loss to "Darth" that seems to still weigh heavy on Matyushenko's mind, given the fact that the bout ended rather swiftly with Bader locking in an air-tight guillotine choke in the opening minute of round one that forced a tap from the Belarusian.
Those are the breaks in such an "unforgiving" sport such as mixed martial arts (MMA), as Matyushenko says, but declares that if he's given a rematch against Bader -- nine more actually -- he wins eight of them.
His bold prediction (via "The MMA Hour"):
"I lost a few times in the UFC and I don't want to finish my career with those losses. I've been training really hard and to me if feels like a waste to have a loss like that, especially when it's a fast submission like that. I don't want to retire by losing, especially like that. I'll show my full potential, that I'll be better. It was a great submission, just a quick one. MMA is an unforgiving sport. There is no nine count like in boxing. You make one mistake and it's over. If I fight Bader 10 times, I probably beat him eight out of 10; but, that doesn't happen, it's not the case. You have to wait all of this time to try and take it next time. That's what I'm doing right now. I'm trying to prove to myself, fans and sparring partners and my coaches that I'm still capable of good fights."
While it's safe to say Matyushenko wasn't trying to diminish Bader's skills, he is very confident he still has what it takes to compete with the best and youngest fighters the sport has to offer.
That, or seeing what happened to "Darth" last weekend (Sept. 4, 2013) at UFC Fight Night 28 at the hands of Glover Teixeira, gave Matyushenko a boost of confidence.
Nevertheless, "The Janitor" will take his 26-7 record into the cage with him in Temecula, Calif., in search of a win against the 41-year old Alexander, a man who had his fair share of ups and downs (mostly downs) inside the world-famous Octagon before getting the boot in 2009 following his loss to Kimbo Slice.
Can Vlad end his losing woes in back in Cali or will he drop his third straight to the heavy-handed "Assassin?"