Throughout fight week ahead of UFC San Antonio, Alexander Hernandez has talked about changing his approach after a loss to Donald Cerrone earlier this year. His striking coach, John O’Rourke, expands on that as the fight draws closer.
San Antonio, TX — When Alexander Hernandez enters the octagon Saturday, he may seem a very different fight from the ones fans remember. A little over six months after losing a Fight of the Night effort to Donald Cerrone in Brooklyn, Hernandez has talked of being a more composed fighter in the cage.
Tempering his aggression. Taking a more cerebral approach. He’ll get a chance to show that at UFC San Antonio this Saturday against Francisco Trinaldo.
Cageside Press had a chance to speak to Hernandez’s striking coach, John O’Rourke of the Ohana Academy, ahead of the fight. And it’s a match-up the whole team sees favorably.
“We like every bit of it,” said O’Rourke. “We think [Hernandez is] stronger, faster, more technical, more explosive, we think the grappling’s better, the wrestling’s better, the striking is better.”
That’s not to sell Francisco Trinaldo short, mind you. “Trinaldo is one of those guys that’s extremely durable, very tough, can take a beating, and if he hits you with anything on the left side, we’ve seen him put people to sleep with one punch.” Knowing that, O’Rourke added that “he’s no joke, don’t get me wrong. But Alex has sort of changed his approach to this by being a lot more patient, being a lot more technical, more like a sniper than a bulldozer, like he has been in the past.”
There’s one key reason for that: the loss to Cowboy in Brooklyn. A second round TKO, after Hernandez had his own moments in the fight. That defeat snapped an eight-fight win streak for Alexander Hernandez. “The Cerrone fight was a valuable lesson, and since then, he has to make adjustments on the fly. He’s real big on push, and his only adjustment thus far has been to push even harder.”
That approach, however, only works up to a point. “When you’re fighting the best in the world, you don’t don’t push through these guys,” O’Rourke observed. “He’s pushed through everybody in his career. And you run into a guy [like Cerrone] that’s going to go right from the cage into the Hall of Fame. He’s going to make adjustments, he’s not going to go out that easy. So Alex, this camp he’s taken special care in order to be more precise, more technical, use his footwork a lot more.”
Which means you may very well see a different look from Hernandez come Saturday night. Again, more sniper, less bulldozer. “I’m looking for this to either go the distance, or something to happen very very quickly,” O’Rourke admitted. But if it does go long, expect Hernandez to be right there.
For more with John O’Rourke, watch our full interview ahead of UFC San Antonio above!