Rafael Cavalcante Confident Road To Bellator Event Ignites Comeback

© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Rafael Cavalcante

For FloCombat via A.G Fight

Just as he was enjoying considerable success in his MMA career that culminated in the Strikeforce light heavyweight title in 2010, Rafael Cavalcante witnessed his career take a drastic turn after being signed by the UFC in 2013. The Brazilian striker lost four of his five fights for the organization, which caused his release in 2016 and raised rumors that the veteran could be hanging up his gloves.

However, contrary to what some observers thought after more than 16 months without a fight, ”Feijão” didn’t simply dismiss retirement talk, but revealed he will debut for Bellator on July 1 at World Fight Tour 7: Road to Bellator in Gran Canaria, Spain.

Not having fought since February 2016 when he lost a decision to Ovince Saint Preux, Cavalcante will have the chance to get his career back on track. His opponent is slated to be Daniel Könecke, an English-German athlete who debuted for Bellator with a submission defeat last May.

Aiming to end his current three-fight losing streak, the heavy-handed light heavyweight believes he has checked all the boxes to do so. Having maintained the belief that he would soon return to competition, Cavalcante said he prepared intensely over the last few months.

"After my last fight in 2016, I didn’t retire and I kept training, but I didn’t continue [my contract] with the UFC”, Cavalcante said. “I waited for a good opportunity to appear, I restructured my training, trained hard and I will return to MMA against Dan Könecke on July 1 at Road to Bellator, which will take place on the Canary Islands.

“We always have to try to keep the machine running in the best way possible. I didn’t stop [training for] a month, I did sparring two to three times a week. I know this is not fighting, it's not the same thing, but a well-made sparring almost comes close to a fight. And thank God Team Nogueira offers me this. I was preparing for a comeback."

Confident that there is still time left to establish himself as one of the greatest Brazilians in the sport, the 36-year-old said he didn’t keep any frustration about his run in the UFC between 2013 and 2016. That is because despite having lost four of his five bouts, the light heavyweight takes solace in that he always took to the Octagon to give the fans a show.

"I tried, I always did my best and anyone who watches my fights knows that”, Cavalcante said. “Fights I lost I still won Fight of the Night. I'm always in there to leave everything in there. I always lost or won by knockout. I only have a few fights that went the distance. That's what I'm doing, I’m very resilient and I’m always trying to evolve. You fall, but you get up all the time. My determination and purpose will never leave me."

In addition to highlighting the excitement with his Bellator debut, albeit in a minor event, and claiming that he doesn’t dwell on his last few fights, Cavalcante made a point of ensuring that his failed anti-doping test after the fight against Mike Kyle in 2012 – his most recent fight before heading to the UFC – had nothing to do with his current negative streak.

"Anti-doping definitely has not disrupted my career, and what affects performance is training”, Cavalcante said. “Regardless of whether the person does drugs or not, what counts is your training. I think that this war on doping doesn’t really disturb athlete's longevity in the sport, even if performances drop a bit. But we also had Randy Couture, who showed that quality of life, nutrition and training [also] are responsible for longevity.

"There are two versions of [hormone] treatment, and we must follow the approved one. There is nothing to discuss about what might or might not be okay. We have to try and do as the athletic commission allows."

Watch: Touching Backstage UFC 220 Footage Featuring Volkan Oezdemir

Screenshot via Anatomy of a Fighter/YouTube Volkan-Oezdemir-UFC-220-Greg-Jones-MMA

Volkan Oezdemir lost to Daniel Cormier in the co-main event at UFC 220, but it didn't take long for the 28-year-old challenger to get back to the drawing board. 

Dana White: Robert Whittaker In 'Serious Condition' From Staph Infection

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Robert-Whittaker-UFC-MMA

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was recently pulled from his scheduled UFC 221 title defense vs. Luke Rockhold in Perth, Australia (h/t ESPN's Brett Okamoto). 

Bellator 192 Results: Chael Sonnen Advances, Rory MacDonald Wins Title

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Chael-Sonnen-Bellator-192-MMA .jpg

Bellator 192 took place Saturday, Jan. 20, at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The event was headlined by the opening bout of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix between Chael Sonnen and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and challenger Rory MacDonald. 

UFC 220 Results: Stipe Miocic Breaks UFC Record

FloSports/USA TODAY Sports Stipe-Miocic-Francis-Ngannou-MMA-UFC-220

In the main event of UFC 220, one of the most exciting heavyweight matchups in recent memory took place, with Stipe Miocic putting his title on the line against heavy-handed contender Francis Ngannou. 

UFC 220 Results: Daniel Cormier Stops Volkan Oezdemir

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Daniel-Cormier-UFC-220-MMA

The light heavyweight title was on the line in the co-main event of UFC 220 on Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston as Daniel Cormier went head-to-head with Volkan Oezdemir. 

Watch: Aaron Pico Scores Brutal Knockout At Bellator 192

Dave Mandel-USA TODAY Sports Aaron-Pico-MMA-Bellator

After a misstep to begin his professional career, top mixed martial arts prospect Aaron Pico has been proving that he deserves all of the hype he received leading up to his debut. 

Daniel Cormier Plans To Retire At 40: 'Not Many Guys Get To Go Out On Top'

Complex Daniel-Cormier-Shoes-Complex

Daniel Cormier may be entering the final year of his fighting career -- and he's completely OK with that.

FloCombat Doubleheader: Reasons To Watch Walkout FC 9, Mecca XI Muay Thai

Walkout FC Max-Humphrey-MMA-FloCombat-Walkout-FC

A hot-fire doubleheader comes to FloCombat on Saturday, Jan. 20, as Walkout FC 9 and Driller Promotions: Mecca XI Muay Thai stream live to your favorite device. 

UFC 220: Are We Forgetting Boop Master Volkan Oezdemir?

Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Volkan-Oezdemir-UFC-MMA

Volkan Oezdemir is a forgotten man heading into Saturday's UFC 220 fight card in Boston. 

UFC 220: Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Weigh-In Results

FloSports/USA TODAY Sports Stipe-Miocic-Francis-Ngannou-MMA-UFC-220

The UFC 220 weigh-ins are underway, as Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou, Daniel Cormier, Volkan Oezdemir, and the rest of the crew hit the scales ahead of their Saturday-night showdown in Boston.