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UFC’s Pickett: Change in opponent will not faze me

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 February 2016

Brad Pickett, seen here at the media day for UFC Fight Night: Silva vs Bisping, takes on Fracisco Rivera tonight

Brad Pickett, seen here at the media day for UFC Fight Night: Silva vs Bisping, takes on Fracisco Rivera tonight

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Bow boy ready to take down Rivera at The O2 tonight

Bow native Brad Pickett says a late change in opponent has not altered his preparation for his bout on the main card at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Bisping, which takes place at The O2 Arena tonight (Saturday).

The 37-year-old was originally scheduled to tackle Mexican Henry Briones in the capital, but will now face Francisco Rivera of the USA instead in a five-round contest at bantamweight.

With the change announced as late as January 22, it has not given Pickett the longest period of time to prepare for his new foe, but he feels both Briones and Rivera fight a similar style.

“I’m very happy with the change in opponent, but to be honest I’m happy with any opponent. I’m happy that I have a fight,” said Pickett, who is looking to end a run of three straight defeats.

“Maybe some people think Francisco a tougher opponent, but I think it’s a case that he’s had more high-profile fights.

“Henry is a dangerous fighter as well and they both have that style where they like to bang, so it has all the ingredients for a good fight.”

There has been speculation in the build-up to the fight that this bout could well be Pickett’s last as he looks to step away from the cage to focus on other matters, such as his growing Rising Champions promotion and his young son.

Pickett admitted that he was unsure about what the future holds for him, but for now he just wants to enjoy being a Londoner fighting in the capital once again, having previously done so on a UFC card in March 2014.

“It’s very emotional for me to fight in my hometown. I’m a very emotional guy and fighting in my hometown is definitely going to make me more emotional,” he added.

“I definitely don’t want to fall in my home town, I ain’t getting beat! I’m going to be there until the end, trying to put him away from the first minute until the last.”

Those tuning in to watch the fight, which is being broadcast on UFC Fight Pass, may notice Pickett wearing his trademark trilby, though he will be without the accompanying braces on his walk to the ring.

And the Bow boy revealed that the inspiration for his distinctive look is his grandfather, who also fought across the capital in the 20th century.

“My granddad was a bare-knuckle boxer during the 1920s. He used to work on the roofs during the day and at night, he used to go out and earn a little extra money to provide for his family back then by boxing.

“When I see pictures of him, he used to wear braces and a trilby, so when I wear it I’m paying tribute to him.”

UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Bisping, featuring Pickett vs. Rivera, is live on UFC Fight Pass.

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