Kalib Starnes training with Big Nog
"BC Fighter Training With Nogueira and American Top Team in Preparation for May 26 Event
By Mike Russell
Canadian Kalib Starnes (7-1-1) will face fellow “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Chris “The Crippler” Leben (16-3-0) at UFC 71 “Liddell vs. Jackson” May 26 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
TUF 3 vet Starnes, 31, confirmed the middleweight match-up from American Top Team’s Coconut Creek, Florida training facility where he is preparing for his upcoming fight, indicating that the contracts have been signed and he is raring to go.
“Leben’s a good striker,” said Starnes of his Oregon-based fighter’s unconventional style. “Obviously, working with Team Quest he’s a really decent grappler and his submission skills are getting better all the time,” said Starnes. “His stand-up is really unorthodox and unpredictable. I’ve been working my kickboxing two hours every day since my loss to Yushin Okami and I’m now to the point where I can hang with anyone sparring.”
A member of highly regarded Canadian Revolution Fight Team, which recently added journeyman Brazilian fighter Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons to its roster, the Surrey, British Columbia native felt that moving his camp to Florida would pay off in Octagon dividends come May.
“The guys here at American Top team are great,” said Starnes. “This is the best camp I’ve ever had preparing for a fight. I’m working with [BJJ coach] Ricardo Liborio, [boxing coach] Howard Davis and sparring with guys like Marcus Aurelio, Wilson Gouveia, Thiago Alves, Denis Kang and Minotauro [Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira]. I get up and come here and spar with Minotauro. It doesn’t get much better than that. Our gym [Revolution Fight Team] is great but I’m the top fighter there and you don’t get better unless you train with better fighters so this has been great for me. Pele just joined our team which has been excellent but I knew coming here would really help my game.”
Although some fighters might consider a seven-month layoff from fighting to be a detriment to their training, Starnes’ body told him that it would need to repair before allowing him back into the Octagon – he suffered a broken nose in his Oct. 2006 UFC 64 fight with Okami and harbored another serious injury coming into the match that hindered his training. Part of his absence was ordered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a result of his loss.
“Even though I wasn’t unconscious they ruled it a TKO and I was put on a mandatory three-month medical suspension. I was fighting with another injury that didn’t allow me to train 100% so the time off allowed me to heal up,” Starnes explains “I’m not making any excuses for the loss, I’m just glad to be training 100% healthy this time. It makes a real difference.”
Leben is coming off a submission loss to Canadian Jason MacDonald at Dec. 30’s UFC 66. Starnes defeated Alberta’s MacDonald in a 2005 bout by first round TKO"
"Omae wa mou shindeiru"
-You're already dead