Roger Bowling expects his UFC debut to be entertaining.
After more than two years in Strikeforce, the Ohio native will step into the Octagon on April 20 at UFC on Fox 7. He’ll be taking on Anthony Njokuani.
“I definitely think he’s an awesome kickboxer, an awesome muay Thai guy and a great fighter,” Bowling told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’m glad that they’re giving me the opportunity to step in against a veteran like him for my first fight. He’s an exciting fighter.”
Bowling will obviously be looking to win, but he’s also putting a premium on entertaining. He’s gone the distance just three times in 14 professional fights.
“I’m definitely not happy with going out there and laying on somebody for three rounds and listening to all the people that paid their hard-earned money boo me,” he said. “That’s not me at all. Everybody that watches my fights knows that I’m not like that. I like to hear the crowd going crazy. That gets me amped up and that makes me want to fight that much harder. I’m definitely looking to put on a show for the crowd and give them what they pay their money to see.”
Bowling could also put himself in the running for a bonus. In Njokuani, he has a capable dance partner. Both fighters like to trade on the feet, and when they win, it’s often by knockout.
In Bowling’s view, their April 20 matchup could end up “Fight of the Night.” Of course, he’d also take “Knockout of the Night.”
“A few of my fights in Strikeforce, I’ve had some knockouts that could have got me those awards,” Bowling said. “It definitely motivates me to push harder in training. I want that.”
The bonus structure might encourage fighters to take more risks, and Bowling’s fine with that. He acknowledged that it could be in the back of his mind against Njokuani, but he’ll also be focused on his opponent’s abilities on the feet.
“I train with a lot of good Thai guys in Cincinnati. I know he’s clean, he’s long,” Bowling said. “… I think I can take this fight anywhere. I think I can take him down when I want. I think I can stand up and bang with him. His length and his craftiness is -- I wouldn’t necessarily call it a worry -- but I’m going to be looking for that.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:35:15).
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