by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
UFC lightweight Kenny Florian, 33, made some major changes
following his loss to B.J. Penn at UFC 101, his second miss at the lightweight
belt. He split with longtime trainer Mark Delagrotte, hired Georges St-Pierre
trainer Firas Zahabi, and ushered brother Keith Florian into a managerial role
for his camps.
All of this, he said Wednesday, was an effort to re-invent
himself and take another run at the belt.
Florian’s re-invention begins Saturday when he takes on Clay
Guida in the co-main event of UFC 107 this Saturday.
The Massachusetts native admitted he neglected a serious
part of his preparation for Penn. Before falling prey to the champion’s
submission skills in round four, he got picked apart by Penn’s punches.
“I didn’t work on (my boxing) as much as I should have,
because B.J. was good in that regard, and different trainers can have different
outlooks on things,” href="http://videos.mmaweekly.com/view_player.php?id=3326">Florian told
MMAWeekly.com. “I tried to attack him with my Muay Thai. I wasn’t
Zahabai, who works out of Tri Star Gym in Montreal, Quebec,
drilled Florian on sitting down on his punches. The idea was developing a
multi-pronged attack for Guida.
“You can’t fight the elite of the sport, like a B.J. Penn,
if you’re just throwing ones and twos,” said Florian. “You have to be slick
with your punching skills, and with your footwork, and I needed to do that. I
just feel much more comfortable in that realm.”
Just how comfortable Florian is, we’ll see on Saturday.
“People will see a different Kenny Florian this fight,” he said.