Aisling Daly believes cardio will be key in her bout with Gadelha

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‘Ais the Bash’ Daly made no secret of her uncomfortable time on The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned on her return to Ireland. Far from SBG’s stronghold on the Naas Road, living with her opponents under the constant surveillance of the show’s cameras didn’t sit well with the former NAAFS champion.

Even when Daly made her first trip to the Octagon, the Dubliner’s first round armbar win over Alex Chambers in December, she still felt like she hadn’t had the time to clear her head after the rigorous filming process.

Heading into her sophomore outing under the UFC banner, Daly believes that UFC fans will see her at the top of her game for the first time having been able to prepare fully in the Dublin facility.

“I feel like I’ve got a mental rest more than anything,” said Daly. “They say to you before you go into the (TUF) house how tough it’s going to be, they tell you that things will never be the same again, but you kind of just think that they’re exaggerating things.

“It really is that bad though. There is a lot of stress for them few months that you’re out there, and then when you get out of the house you feel like you’re getting over a traumatic event or something.

“For me, to have had a bit of time away from all of that has been great. Just to be training with my team and improving, I’ve got my confidence back because in the house it was knocked a bit. My performances were subpar because of the constant stress of keeping your weight down.

“Everything is great now, I love my team at SBG and it was very hard to be away from them for so long. The last few months at home have really made me appreciate what I have.”

On the announcement of the Gadelha bout, Daly insisted that because she had been matched with one of the top talents in the 115 lbs division she would be motivated to train even harder. Having been training for months in the lead up to the fight, ‘Ais the Bash’ confirmed that has noticed her increased impetus with a view to the clash in Krakow.

“The fact that Claudia is such a good opponent has helped me focus on my training. I’ve been training so hard that I’ve had to rein myself back a little, you don’t want to over train, you’ve got to get the balance right.

“I’m so motivated for this fight everything has been going great in training. I’ve got a super team around me, all the little guys particularly in SBG, we call ourselves ‘Team Midget’.

“Me and the rest of ‘Team Midget’ have been getting some great training in. Everything has been going perfect and that’s making me very excited for April 11. I’m really excited to put on a great performance.”

Gadelha goes into her test with Daly as the bookies favourite, but the Irish starlet is confident that she can match the Brazilian wherever the fight goes.

She said: “I honestly feel like I’m so well rounded that wherever this fight goes I’m confident. Claudia does sometimes rush her striking and uses it to set up her takedowns. Her striking is very conventional, she likes crisp one-two combinations, so I’ll have to be aware of that on the feet.

“I’m not just thinking because I’m a bit more unorthodox that I’ll just steamroll her either, but I’m just really confident. I definitely think that she will try to take me down, but that’s her bread and butter.

“I have excellent grappling and jiu jitsu too so it’s going to be an interesting fight. Maybe she thinks that she hits harder than me, maybe she thinks that her standup is better than mine but I’m trying not to have any one, specific game plan going in to this fight.

“I have a few things that I’m working on that are specific in terms of Claudia’s game, but I’m at the point where I just feel I’m so well-rounded that if I can keep it standing or take her down. If the opportunity to take her down presents itself, I have no fear of going for it.

“She’s not a slick finisher, she doesn’t have a slick submission game – she’s more of a grinder.”

Finally, when assessing the strengths of Gadelha, Daly maintained that cardio will be one of her key advantages given that she has noticed Nova Uniao fighter’s tendency to gas early in her previous fights.

“She’s an explosive fighter, she really comes out banging from the first bell. One of the big advantages I see myself having is the fact that she tires. She comes out at a hard pace and then three minutes into the round she starts to gas, she kind of coasts through the last two rounds,” Daly pointed out.

“I can come out keep an explosive pace going for five rounds if needs be. I’ve got cardio for days and that’s something I can always rely on. I’m expecting a tough opening three minutes where I’ll have to weather the storm a little bit. After that I can see her gassing. I can see the end of round one and the entirety of rounds two and three being all me.”

@PetesyCarroll

Photo: Cage Warriors

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.