Written by Cameron Gidari
For “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, having a puncher’s chance is more than adequate. The Middleweight champion for the now defunct EliteXC has ended 13 of his 16 professional wins via TKO.
In a true pairing of opposites, Lawler will square off against submission specialist Jake Shields at Strikeforce: “Lawler vs. Shields” on June 6. It will be the first time that Lawler has fought since last July, but he is not concerned with the long layoff.
“The whole time I was out I was training thinking I was going to fight any day and it just didn’t happen that way,” Lawler said. “I’m in shape. I’m ready to go.”
As for his upcoming match, Lawler says that he hasn’t been doing anything special to train for the dangerous Jiu Jitsu ace.
“[I’m] just training real hard, working on all my skills like I always do,” Lawler said.
Despite his striking advantage, Lawler actually expects Shields to fight him on the feet, at least at first.
“I think [Shields] will look to exchange a little bit and then go in for a takedown,” Lawler said. “I don’t think he’s just going to shoot blindly.”
Standing and trading with Lawler is usually the recipe for an early knockout, but Lawler doesn’t think Shields has any choice.
“That’s what you have to do to set up your takedowns,” Lawler said.
When the fight does begin, Lawler thinks that the difference between winning and losing is simple.
“If I’m stronger and faster than him I’m going to win,” Lawler said. “[It comes down to] who can take advantage of their strengths and that’s what I’m looking to do.”
That strength is clearly Lawler’s heavy hands, and Lawler will look to put himself in the perfect position to finish the fight with a knockout.
“[The key] is getting in a position where that guy is less dangerous and you are still very dangerous,” Lawler said. “[You go] to a spot a little off so that he’s not as powerful, and you’re sitting there waiting for him.”
If Shields does find Lawler sitting there waiting for him, you can be sure to add one more KO to Lawler’s already impressive list.
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Cameron Gidari is the Associate Editor at MMAMadness.com. You can send him a question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.