A while back, Doug Marshall had a conversation with trainer Rafael Cordeiro, during which “The Rhino” received a piece of advice that he believes will be wholly applicable when he meets Sultan Aliev tonight at Bellator 92 from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif.
The topic discussed was not a complicated one. Cordeiro, the former Chute Boxe coach who now runs Kings MMA, told Marshall that there are two types of fighters in this world.
“Master Cordeiro told me that there is Anderson Silva, the magnificent counter-puncher with so many beautiful techniques, and then there is Wanderlei Silva, who’s just an aggressive animal who goes out and chews on guys’ heads,” Marshall recently told Sherdog.com. “He touched my chest and said, ‘Doug, you’re Wanderlei Silva. Your style is offense.’”
While that statement likely comes as no surprise for those familiar with the Californian’s body of work, Marshall nevertheless says it was a fact he ignored for a period -- a decision that garnered him some less-than-favorable results.
“I believed so much in my heart that I wanted to be this spectacular counter-puncher, this wizard of technique, that it threw me off of my track. It threw me off of my Wanderlei Silva, my ‘Rhino,’ what got me to the big show,” said Marshall. “So now I’m back and aggressive and putting people to sleep, and it’s going to continue.”
Following a vicious, 34-second knockout at the hands of former Cage Rage champion Zelg Galesic -- who, according to Marshall, weighed in 12 pounds over the middleweight limit for their Super Fight League confrontation last year in India -- Marshall received a call from a Bellator official, who offered the power puncher a bout with Kala Hose on four weeks’ notice.
Marshall needed just 22 seconds to stop Hose and earn his spot in the promotion’s Season 8 middleweight tournament, where he punched his ticket to the semifinals with a first-round finish of Andreas Spang at Bellator 89 last month.
“I wanted to see what he had, and I immediately got his timing down. I was just in the moment while I was moving. A couple of his punches hit, and they didn’t really do anything. I was just coming up short, just inches away from the mark, so I backed it up and played it patient and saw the opening,” said Marshall. “The lead uppercut-right hand [combination] was working for me, and I came with it. When I landed the overhand right, it was so solid that I felt it transfer all the way up to my elbow, and I knew that was it. The way that dude fell, he looked like he had baby deer legs, like Bambi.”
The victory moved the former World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion one step closer to a $100,000 payday and a guaranteed title shot. In Aliev, Marshall faces an undefeated Dagestani with six knockouts to his credit. Nevertheless, Marshall believes that once Aliev feels his power in just a few hours, the 28-year-old will soon find himself staring up at the lights.
“Sultan knows what I’m going to do. He knows I’m a heavy-handed striker, and that if he stands with me, he’ll be sleeping early in the first round,” said Marshall. “He’s going to have to get me to the mat. Once he gets me there, what’s he going to do to me, pitty-pat me and kiss me to death with lay-and-pray? I’m going to either sub him out or tie him up and get back [to my feet], where I’ll impose my will. I think when that bell rings, and I come out hard and heavy, you’re going to see some ugly shots being taken from 15 feet away right into a flying knee.”