Kenny Robertson’s first trip to Brazil was a perfect one, as the UFC fighter scored a submission victory over Thiago Perpetuo last month.
Competing in another country is nothing new for Robertson, but doing so in Brazil was. He’s previously fought in Canada and Finland, along with Puerto Rico.
“We were escorted to the event venue by security guards with automatic rifles, so that was different,” said Robertson, during a recent interview with FightLine. “I knew that I would get booed and had prepared for it.”
Taking on a Brazilian, Robertson (13-3) left the crowd stunned in silence after securing a rear-naked choke on Perpeuto in the first round. It was his second submission victory since signing with the UFC, and sixth of his career.
“There were still some boos but not nearly as many (after the fight),” he said. “I’m not sure if the crowd was more respectful or just quieted. Either way, I do respect how Brazilians get behind their native fighters.”
Robertson was coming off a 2013 decision loss to Sean Pierson. He is now 2-3 in five UFC appearances, with the other defeats being to Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce.
A former wrestler at Eastern Illinois University, Robertson has turned himself into a well-versed expert when it comes to the submission game. He’s won fights via rear-naked choke, a modified kneebar, keylock and armbar since turning pro in 2008.
“Once I hit the mat, I’m just always thinking ‘improve position,'” he said. “I went for the rear-naked and had to adjust to a short choke. If you look, it’s not a rear-naked, it’s a short choke.”
After the fight, Robertson took a few extra days to relax and enjoy the weather in Brazil, as he said he “hung out with my wife and cornermen at the beach. It was nice.”
Two issues did come up once he reached the foreign country, though, involving his diet.
“Only having bottled water and no Subway sucked, but other than that, it was normal,” Robertson said.
Now back home in Ilinois, Robertson is in his “prep period.”
“I’m slowly getting back into training,” he added. “I don’t feel the need to call any one person out. I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”