| Article Summary:
When Kenny Florian started his UFC career as a cast member on the infamous first season of The Ultimate Fighter no one could have predicted the success that he would achieve in the Octagon. Of course, what we didn't know at that time was that Kenny, a natural 155 pounder, was fighting at a whopping 30 pounds over that weight just for the opportunity to compete.
After tasting success in his first few fights at 155, Kenny lost a five round decision for the vacant UFC Lightweight World Championship to Sean Sherk and dropped out of the title picture. Like the inevitable champion that he is, he has reeled off six straight wins, five by stoppage, and is now the number one contender to take on current champ BJ Penn, widely regarded as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
None of his victories have been more impressive than his recent obliteration of top contender Joe Stevenson at UFC 91. For the 4:03 that the fight lasted, Kenny put on a clinic, applying constant pressure on Joe with strikes until he ultimately took him to the ground, continued the onslaught and finally submitted him with a rear-naked choke.
Before that fight, the interest for many fans in a Florian-Penn title fight was mild. But after watching Kenny dismantle Stevenson even faster than BJ had when the two fought back in January, fans can't wait to see what "KenFlo" can do against "The Prodigy." Let's take a look at how he prepared for that statement fight.
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"As soon as we got the word that I was going to be fighting Stevenson, my brother Keith got his last five or six fights and put them on a DVD that was distributed to the team ... my boxing coach, Peter Welch, my strength and conditioning coach, Kevin Kearns, Mark DellaGrotte and my brother and I.
We all broke down Joe's strengths and weaknesses and then developed the game plan. For this fight, I didn't need as much input because Joe is an orthodox fighter. Standing, although he has short arms, he's most comfortable when he's extending the arm and I saw that BJ was able to hurt him in tight when they fought.
I also wanted to avoid being on my back because Joe has good elbows, so I did a lot of wrestling in this camp, especially working up against the fence. I also noticed that Joe always nails the guillotine on the left side so I made sure to never put my head there. Lastly, if you pressure Joe with punches he starts to make mistakes so that was a big part of the game plan. It worked perfectly."
Training For Joe:
The next step was to devise and implement the game plan which would be carried out at
Kenny's new martial arts center in Brookline, Massachusetts.
"We got opponents to mimic Joe's style on the ground. We would tell them to do certain things that we could drill or find guys who had a similar style and size as Joe. I also worked a lot on escaping the guillotine as well as pressure up against the fence."
|RELATED VIDEO: TRAINING FOR UFC 91|
When it came to the stand up, Kenny sparred with pro
boxers and worked with top
MMA fighters like
Kurt Pellegrino and
Din Thomas. To get his strength and conditioning to the level he needs it to be for a fight, Kenny moves into what he calls the 'Gas in the Tank' phase."
"1 1/2 to 2 months before the fight Kevin has me doing three rounds consisting of nine different exercises. Each round goes five to seven minutes followed by one minute of active rest. Some of the exercises we do include ground and pounding a heavy bag, punching, kicking and kneeing exercises, balance movements and takedown movements."
Last but certainly not least, was Kenny's intense sparring routine. He did 15-to-25 minutes of MMA sparring broken down into 5-minute rounds with a twist.
"Even though the rounds were five minutes, we rotate a fresh opponent in every 2 1/2 minutes. This forces me to push the pace even more."
Interestingly, the last few weeks before the fight sees Kenny sparring less, not more. Not only does this lessen the chance of
injury, but it allows him to peak for the fight and deliver maximum intensity inside the cage. Just ask
Nutrition & Supplementation:
As a high level competitive athlete, Kenny leaves no stone unturned, and that includes his nutrition and supplementation. A sample day's diet looks like this:
Kenny also uses the following supplements on a daily basis:
That's the game plan that led to a title shot. If you're interested in developing your own championship game plan, want to get in better shape or learn the Florian way of martial arts, make sure to visit Kenny online at www.FlorianMartialArtsCenter.com.