With a clash between rising light heavyweight contender Rafael “Feijao” Calvancante and the controversial Mike Kyle recently being added to a card already featuring a slew of notable talent, it appears as though the June 6th “Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields” event is shaping up to be perhaps the most memorable in the promotion’s history.
Headliners Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields spoke to media on Tuesday about competing at a catch-weight of 182 pounds as well as a few other topics related to their upcoming bout.
“It is nice not having to diet all the time so hopefully I’ll go in there feeling stronger,” said Shields, who usually tips the scales at 170 pounds. “Dieting and sucking water – all of that can take it out of you. There are positives and disadvantages to it. It’s always nice being the bigger guy but it’s also nice to not have to diet or cut water out. So there are two ways of looking at it. I’ll just have to go out there and see how I feel on Saturday.”
Lawler was a little less enthusiastic about the prospect of dropping down further than he normally does for a fight.
“I’m going to make it,” said the concrete-handed former/forever EliteXC Middleweight Champion. “I don’t want to make it but I’m going to make it. This whole time off I was thinking of getting a little leaner and cutting a little more weight than normal so I think I’ll be fine.”
Considered among the best in their respective divisions, the mutual appreciation of skills between the two certainly appeared to be in place. Both seemed to have a realistic assessment of his opponent’s abilities and neither man talked trash towards the other.
“I think Robbie’s a great wrestler,” Shield stated in regards to his strategy for the bout. “He’s always been surrounded by good college wrestlers. He’s certainly not going to be easy to take down. His ground game is his weakest aspect but I haven’t been able to see it lately because not a lot of guys have been able to get him down.”
The California based vegetarian also has a backup plan just in case his grappling is neutralized.
“Punch him in the face,” said Shields. “That always helps. If he takes me down I just have to punch back.”
Though as different in lifestyle as in-ring style, Lawler had a similar assessment to Shields on how the two stacked up against each other.
“I definitely don’t want him on top of me,” admitted Lawler. “He’s got a great top game and he looks to finish – looks to mount and looks to improve position – so being on the ground is definitely not a good place to be.”
Does that mean he’ll be looking for a first round knockout?
“However I can get a win,” answered the man who is as soft-spoken as he is hard-hitting.