Welterweight veteran Karo Parisyan will blog his thoughts and experiences for Sherdog readers leading up to his ShoFight 20 clash with John Gunderson on Saturday at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield, Mo.
My next fight is this weekend, and I’m facing a very tough opponent in Gunderson. He was originally going to take on my teammate, Sevak Magakian, but when the guy I was originally going to face, Shamar Bailey, got injured, Gunderson moved into that slot. Now, it’s me and Gunderson for the ShoFight welterweight title in Missouri.
A lot of fighters like to game plan specifically for their opponent. I’m not like that. To me, it’s just another guy I’m fighting. Why should I plan for one specific guy? If I was, I might be in some trouble because my opponent just got switched. Instead, I like to focus on my game, my skills. Everyone knows I’m a submission specialist. Gunderson is in the same mold, though my submissions are more related to judo. Now, a couple things could happen in this scrap: it turns into a chess match on the floor, or our mat skills cancel each other out and it ends up being a slugfest.
To get ready for him, I’ve been sparring in the mornings with pads and then doing strength and conditioning at night. I’ve been working on my standup as much as I can.
Some have asked if it bothered me or altered my game plan at all when Bailey had to drop out. Nope, not at all. I could get pissed about it and slack off, but it doesn’t matter to me. I’m coming to fight, and it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the cage. They’re getting smashed, regardless, and Gunderson is included in that. I want to prove I’m still one of the world’s best in my weight class, and this is an opportunity to prove I’m still someone to be taken seriously as a threat.
It hasn’t been easy. I’ve been preparing hard for this scrap. I’ve been training with my guys, my team: Sevak, Karen Darabedyan and Sako Chivitchyan ... a bunch of guys. Karen and Sevak are fighting on this card, too. It’s awesome when my training partners are fighting at the same event. It really makes the training environment so much more intense, and the training is so much more beneficial. We push each other, and we make each other better.
I’m going to reap the benefits of this training against Gunderson on Saturday, and I’m going home with that belt.