Greg Rebello plans to keep it standing against ‘buddy’ at Kevin Haley at CES 57

Following a first round loss to Josh Parisian at Dana White’s Contender Series in June of last year, heavyweight Greg Rebello has spent the last 13 months out of active competition.

For Rebello, the loss to Parisian was a combination of multiple factors, leading to want too much needed time off afterwards.

“After my last fight, things didn’t go well, but I had a ton of injuries leading up to it,” Rebello told MMAWeekly.com. “I broke my hand in the fight previous (verses Travis Wiuff) and it definitely wasn’t 100-percent. I did what I could get myself in shape, but I came in a little bit heavy. I couldn’t just get myself into shape that I usually am.

“I took a lot of time to heal my body up. I still trained the whole time, but I wanted to heal my hand up. I’ve been trying to get a fight, but it’s been 13 months of just kind of training and wanting to get back in there.”

For the 37 year old Rebello, taking time off ended up being highly beneficial to his game.

“I have a lot of fights, so I realize sometimes, especially at my age, a little time off is a good thing to kind of reset your body and reset your mind and pretty much go back to square one,” said Rebello. “I think it was a good thing.

“I’ve been wrestling and grappling a ton over the last year. I’ve gotten into shape and have gotten a lot lighter. I’m probably 20lbs lighter than I was in my last fight. I’ll definitely be able to see my improvements in training and not just fighting as well.”

For his first bout of 2019, Rebello (24-9) is set to defend his title against challenger Kevin Haley (6-5) in the heavyweight championship main event of CES 57 in Lincoln, Rhode Island, on Friday.

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“I’ve known Kevin for years,” Rebello said. “We’re buddies. We’ve known each other from the local scene.

“He’s a good wrestler, a good grappler, a strong dude, and he’s fought the best of the best. He always says yes, and never says no to a fight. He’s got wins over guys who are in the UFC right now. But my striking is just going to be on a different level. I’m going to keep the fight on the feet.”

For Rebello, the remainder of the year is something he’ll focus on after his bout with Haley. Until the fight is over, that’s the only thing on his mind.

“I usually just go fight by fight,” said Rebello. “I never get ahead of myself. I’m worried about Kevin Haley and that’s it. That’s all I have my mind on.”