Exclusive: Cyrille Diabate Ready To Return At ShoXC, Eyes EXC Title

Cyrille “Snake” Diabate (11-6-1) will make his return to MMA action this Friday night when he takes on Jamie Fletcher (6-3) at ShoXC from the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California. The event will air live on Showtime.

Diabate last fought for Cage Rage in April of 2007 but since then has run into a few road blocks that put his MMA career on hold.

“After my last fight in Cage Rage I wanted to make sure I took my career to the next level,” Diabate told MMANews.com “I knew management was crucial so I contacted Ken Pavia (of MMAagents) and he was interested in working with me straight away. The first fight he booked for me, I broke my ankle two weeks beforehand.”

Rarely injured through his fighting career that began almost 18 years ago, Diabate was stuck in a cast while the broken ankle heeled. Once the cast came off Diabate was offered a chance to train at Team Quest while Dan Handerson prepared for his fight with Anderson Silva earlier this year. Following that, EliteXC came calling and “Snake” signed a contract and will make his US debut Friday evening.

For Diabate, motivation was something that was hard to maintain with the obstacles in his way, but with new management and all injuries mended he is ready to take his career too that next level he was ready for over a year ago.

“Motivation is a hard thing to keep when you have been training and fighting for over 17 years. When I was 18 I was a bit of a handful and I had alot of things to express, mostly anger. I loved Martial Arts and Combat Sports and that was when I decided to make the jump. Now I want the EliteXC belt and I want to establish myself as a true and real MMA artist.”

Primarily known as a striker, only three of Diabate's 11 wins have come via submission but his last win in April 2007 was a slick armbar submission only 1:05 in the first round. Working his ground game is something that he has spent a lot of time on and although he realizes he isn't the best grappler in the world, he knows how to put it together.

“I won't say I have the best grappling or wrestling in the world but my skills in those fields are enough for MMA. The whole is what is important, the transistions between those aspects of MMA, and the gameplan is what binds everything together.”

Jaime Fletcher has fought on the last two ShoXC and is also a veteran of Pancrase but experience could come in to play as Diabate has fought some top level fighters in his time including Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. “I think I match up well him him (Fletcher) and I feel like he is a tough that that will let me shine. I have more experience, more skills, and I think that will be too much for him at some point in the fight. I see myself winning by any number of different ways.”