Robbie Lawler: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will take on 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland in a middleweight clash that could propel the winner into title contention. The pair will meet in a featured matchup at Strikeforce “Henderson vs. Babalu” on Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
A former Icon Sport and EliteXC middleweight titleholder, Lawler claims the idea fighting for the belt is of little concern -- for now.
“I am not too worried about what is happening after this fight,” Lawler during a Nov. 23 conference call. “I am worried about training for Matt and [stepping] in there and doing my best.”
Recently, the H.I.T. Squad product has changed his training regimen, traveling to Power MMA and Fitness in Gilbert, Ariz., to drill his wrestling with some of the sport's best. Though he was unable to train with UFC talents Ryan Bader, C.B. Dollaway and Aaron Simpson in advance of the Lindland bout, Lawler says he still had a successful camp.
“I didn’t go down to Arizona this time because the gym wasn’t open, but I’ve been working on my wrestling as much as I’ve been working on all my other skills,” he said. “I’ve trained hard for this fight, and I look forward to it.”
Regarding the fight itself, Lawler’s approach remains fairly straightforward. The former Pat Miletich-trained competitor will look for Lindland’s chin inside the cage.
“I expect Matt to come out and be in my face and [for] me to have a chance to hit him. I think he is a smart fighter, so I don’t think he is just going to go in there and wrestle from the start,” said Lawler. “He’s been working on all his skills, so I am ready for a little bit of stand-up before he closes the distance.”
Few middleweights possess the type of knockout power that Lawler holds in his fists. The 28-year-old sports an impressive 16 of his 19 career victories by KO. Victims on that knockout list include Frank Trigg, Scott Smith and Melvin Manhoef. Relieving an opponent of his consciousness brings with it quite a rush, according to Lawler.
“It feels good,” he said. “When you hurt someone, you just have to go in there and look for the finish and get it done.”
During the call, it was insinuated that Lindland thought he might have an easy time getting inside and taking down Lawler. On the same call, “The Law” claimed he wanted to put Lawler on his back and “pound a hole in his head.” According to Lawler, however, Lindland will have his hands full on fight night.
“I don’t know how he thinks it is going to be, but I have been working on my skills and my wrestling, and I have been working on everything,” said Lawler. “I think you have to ask Matt how easy he thinks it will be. I think he thinks it will be tough. And it will be.”