ABU DHABI // Fernando Cosendey returns to the ring for the first time in three years tonight as one of the five competitors from Abu Dhabi on the 13-fight card in the inaugural Dubai Fighting Championship.
Cosendey is unbeaten in four Mixed Martial Arts bouts back in Brazil and meets Hadi Rivandi, a Dubai-based Iranian, in the featherweight division.
The 26-year-old Brazilian says he was "born to fight" and his return to competition is to "celebrate the first birthday" of his son Joao Pedro.
"This fight is for my son," he said. "I grew up watching fights and I want my son to see me in action."
Cosendey has not fought since he moved to the UAE as a jiu-jitsu instructor with the ambitious schools programme established by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
Cosendey acknowledges he has lost some of his fight sharpness during his layoff but says he trains two hours in a six-day week at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club and that his job as an instructor helps keep him in condition.
"It is normal routine to keep myself in good shape because it is my job to fight," he said. "I hope to give a good fight and to inspire the hundreds of schoolchildren I coach. These kids follow most of the fights on YouTube and it would be a great honour for me to win."
Cosendey is joined by his compatriots Michel Maia and Nilson Lopes and the debutants Fabricio Nascimento, an Italian, and Rafat Shawe, an Iraqi.
Marcos Oliveira, part of the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Schools Programme, said fighters earned their reputations with their performances in competition.
"The respect a fighter receives is on the success they have in the ring and I am very confident my brothers will fulfil their potentials," the 33-year-old Brazilian who is preparing for an MMA event in Abu Dhabi in July, said.
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