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Exclusive: MMA heavyweight Bobby Lashley tells MMATorch his pick for tonight's main event
Jul 7, 2012 - 7:08:22 PM
In an exclusive interview on Friday, MMA heavyweight fighter Bobby Lashley told MMATorch Supervising Editor Wade Keller his pick for the Sonnen-Silva fight and also talked about the marketing of the fight. The following is an excerpt. Listen to 60 minutes of the interview including updates on his future in MMA and his pro wrestling career: CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO.
Wade Keller: What is your pick for the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight?
Bobby Lashley: I look at it going one of two ways. Before I was thinking it was just going to be Sonnen going right back into the same way he did before, take him down, ground and pound him, and then just go for submissions the whole fight. Everyone is thinking that's a good possibility and that's what I was thinking was going to happen again. But then, it's like he has Anderson Silva a little rattled. And when he gets rattled, he's been having some great fight. [Patrick] Cote kind of rattled him a little bit, and he knocked him out. It's still kind of a tossup. I've looked at the staredown; there's all kinds of little clues that we try to use to say 'Oh, he's got the advantage.' I don't know. I think this one might be - I'll flip a coin right now - I say Anderson Silva. I say he'll stay where he'll keep the distance and just light him up with his hands and feet. He'll be a lot more creative now. You can't stay basic with Chael because you know Chael is going to be coming straight at you really fast, so he's probably working on different angles and going to catch him with a kick punch knee as he's coming in. I'm going to go with Anderson Silva catching him with something and Chael Sonnen sealing his financial future with this fight."
Keller: Does it come early or late in this fight?
Lashley: I think it's going to be second round.
Keller: Your pick is the same as mine, but I'm like you, I don't have a lot of confidence with it. But if I'm backed into a corner, I'm kind of thinking Silva stops Sonnen in the second. I'm basing that on believing Silva was not 100 percent in the last fight and he's extremely motivated by what Sonnen said not just about him, but his country and even the women of Brazil. It's a fascinating fight. I don't think Chael will be predictable, but I think Silva might be the best athlete at his sport in the world right now. He's at least in that conversation.
Lashley: I don't know if it's a shoe in… He's amazing, though. Some fighters when they go out there and are emotional, it takes them off their game. I think Anderson is the opposite. When he gets emotional, I think he gets more dialed in. He's just dangerous. So that's why I'm taking Silva right now.
Keller: Do you think Chael Sonnen has gone too far with what he's said to market this fight? I know you want to amplify your feelings about your opponent to sell tickets and market the fight. In MMA you want to think the rivalry is genuine and not a work, but it is part of the business side of the sport. I get the sense Anderson really means what he says now that he's been reluctantly brought into a war of words. Chael seems genuine. What's your take? And as someone who's been in both pro wrestling and MMA at a high level, have they taken this trash talking too far?
Lashley: No. I'm sure there's a point where you could say you crossed that boundary, but I don't think they've done that. He's selling the pay-per-view. Let him do it. I know a lot of the hardcore MMA fans say you're disrespecting the fighter and everything like that. I don't know if Chael has that bad-blood with Anderson Silva and I don't see why he would. I think he's trying to get himself motivated and get into Anderson Silva's head. Besides that, it's just fun. They're trying to sell pay-per-views. I think it's going to work. Everybody I've been talking to can't wait to see that fight.
Keller: Do you think if there's a grueling four or five round classic tomorrow night, when it's over, as long as it's a clean finish, whoever loses will stand up and offer a handshake or embrace, as happens with a lot of bitter rivalries and might never share another moment together, but after going to war with someone in that octagon, that all that pre-fight hype gets set aside, and the loser can be a good enough sport and feel good enough about their performance, as down as they are about losing, that they'll hug or shake hands?
Lashley: I don't think there's a possible way that fight can end that they would both want to do that. Because I think both of those guys want to win no matter what just so they can spit in the other guy's face. No matter how hard they fought, I can't see who would go to the other because Anderson Silva is still going to hate him for what he said, and Chael Sonnen is still going to have an ego. I don't see it happening.
Keller: This is in the category of the biggest MMA fight of all time, or at least UFC in recent history. It's a rematch of a classic where an underdog almost beat a champion, the longest reigning champion, the longest reigning champion, perhaps the best pound for pound fighter, and all the trash talking, it's absolutely near the top of the biggest MMA fights of all time. Do you agree, Bobby?
Lashley: You know what, the only reason I agree is you just sold me the fight. I can list off a handful of fights I think are going to be way better. Cain vs. Dos Santos, great fight. But the one that everyone would think is even better, whoever fights Overeem. That's a way bigger fight. Either one of those guys would be great to see. Cain beats Dos Santos and he gets to fight, Overeem, that's a blockbuster. If Dos Santos stops Cain again with his hands, he gets tested against a K-1 Champion. I think Diaz vs. GSP, too. I think they could have done more with Jon Jones and Dan Henderson, because that's a pretty big fight also.
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