Robbie Lawler | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Lawler expects Ronaldo
“Jacare” Souza to stand and trade strikes with him during their
Strikeforce middleweight title fight Saturday in San Jose,
Not by choice. Lawler says the Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout will
have to fight on his feet.
“He’ll have no choice but to stand,” Lawler said recently during a
Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “That’s what
I plan on doing. I’m forcing him to stand and seeing how good his
Despite Jacare’s submission prowess, he has shown improved striking
skills. He’s also coming off three consecutive wins, including an
impressive five-round unanimous decision over Tim Kennedy
that earned him the middleweight gold.
Meanwhile Lawler has split his last four fights. He will enter the
cage as the underdog.
“It’s kind of nice actually. I like being the underdog,” Lawler
said. “I like being the guy who people think is going to lose and I
want to prove them wrong.”
Lawler’s takedown defense will have to be sharp to beat the odds.
To ensure he’ll be able to stay standing against Jacare, he has
been training in Arizona with UFC veterans and touted wrestlers
Simpson and C.B.
“They’re just big guys, athletic, good wrestlers and guys who are
hungry and who are all bigger than me,” Lawler said. “Just drilling
with guys who were All-American wrestlers, guys who implement that
into their game plan, just working out with those guys has made me
get better by leaps and bounds.”
Of course, Jacare could be tempted to test his striking progress
against Lawler, though it seems more likely he will want to make
use of his advantage on the ground.
“I believe if anyone stands, it’s just a matter of time before I
catch them,” Lawler said. “I believe I’m better on standup. He’s a
really good athlete. He’s explosive. His takedowns are real
explosive and he’s got a judo background. I just have to keep it
where I want to and not make any mistakes and take advantage of it
being on the feet.”
Even standing, though, Lawler is planning on a tough bout.
“I believe it’s going to be an awesome fight,” he said. “Two guys,
one guy not wanting to give up the belt and one guy going in there
to take the belt. It’s going to be a battle.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:29:40) with Lawler.