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After 'slugging it out like a meathead' at UFC Fight Night 106, Gian Villante to adopt 'Shogun' mentality'

FORTALEZA, Brazil – Gian Villante’s desire to have a fun fight with Mauricio Rua was fulfilled at UFC Fight Night 106. Unfortunately for Villante, though, coming out on the losing end of it wasn’t part of his vision.

Villante’s (15-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC) matchup with former UFC champ Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) in Saturday’s FS1-televised co-headliner at Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, was contested almost entirely on the feet. Both sides had their moments, but in the end “Shogun” scored a third-round TKO victory.

The opportunity to fight an ex-UFC titleholder and a legend of the sport does not come around often. Villante said he enjoyed the experience, but he said he knows his chance of winning would’ve been better if he taken even a slightly more tactical approach.

“It was what I expected; I saw what I thought I was going to see,” Villante said. “Respect to him for sure. It’s what I expected, but I don’t know. I think I hesitated a little bit too much. I felt good. I felt like I was hurting him when I was throwing with good punches and stuff like that. Then I just kind of let my head get in there and stopped kicking. I didn’t kick. I didn’t wrestle. I just went in there and started slugging like a meathead.

“It is what it is. It’s tough to deal with right now, but I’ll be back for sure. I know I hit hard. I know I can take a shot.”

Although his chat with reporters came just minutes after a hard-fought clash, Villante said the mistakes that led to his defeat were obvious to him right away. He allowed Rua to get into an offensive groove while Villante didn’t apply the pressure needed to win the type of fight he was in.

“Anytime he hurt me, he kept going, but anytime I hurt him, I stopped,” Villante said. “That was the difference in the fight.”

Villante admitted he faces an internal battle when he fights: take a smart and more measured approach to the bout, or go with his instinct and get in a brawl, even if it’s not to his advantage. He went with the latter at UFC Fight Night 106 and paid the price, but that might not always be the case going forward.

Having alternated wins and losses over his past six UFC appearances,Villante said his style isn’t conducive to consistent success in the light-heavyweight division. Villante may be satisfied with being a fighter who can be relied on to deliver an entertaining affair each time he steps in the octagon, but if he wants more than that, he knows some adjustments need to be made going forward.

“I enjoy the slugfest stuff, and I think I can win most of the time; I just got to get a little bit smarter, be a little bit more aggressive and get that ‘Shogun’ mentality a little bit more and be more aggressive in there, and then I think a lot of these wins will start coming my way,” Villante said. “I don’t think I need to wrestle as much. It’s not as fun to me. It’s boring. I want fun fights. I want to hear that crowd, even if they’re telling me to die.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 106, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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