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Thursday, Jul 01, 2004

Higher Calling:

Higher Calling:
Lawler Tries Middleweight On For Size, Opponent Jhun Revisits Roots
By Loretta Hunt

Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler

Robbie Lawler is looking for a change of scenery. Scheduled to appear on August 21st’s UFC 49 card at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the "ruthless" one will move up in weight divisions to face experience-heavy Hawaiian Ronald "the Machine Gun" Jhun.

"I think it will be better on my body," the former welterweight said of his recent decision to jump classes. "When I go down to 170, I’m a little too lean and I don’t think it’s good on my joints, so I’m gonna see what it feels like at 185."

Breaking onto the scene back at UFC 37 with an inspiring three round stand-up display against veteran Aaron Riley, Lawler impressed fans early on with his "caution to the wind" fighting style. He matched that performance with brutal back-to-back knockouts of Steve Berger and Tiki Ghosn at UFC’s 37.5 and 40, before succumbing to kickboxer Pete Spratt at UFC 42. Sustaining a groin injury that shelved the aggressive fighter for seven months, Lawler returned at UFC 45 with a decision win over Chris Lytle.

Coming off a second round knockout loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 46, the Iowan brawler insists that neither this nor the fact that fellow Miletich Martial Arts teammate and former champion Matt Hughes remains at welterweight had any bearing on the move. "That had nothing to do with it," the 8-2 fighter says, adding, "We wouldn’t do that [fight each other]. We don’t get paid enough."

Although he hasn’t set his sights on any middleweights in particular, 21-11- 2 Jhun will get the first crack at the Miletich standout who says he walks around at 185 to 192 pounds naturally. "I’m game," Jhun excitedly commented about his impending UFC debut. "A lot of guys tell me wow, he’s kind of dangerous. But, you know what? I would have been fighting Robbie [at welterweight] anyway, but I don’t think he wants to fight at 170, because I heard he has to lose a lot of weight." A former middleweight himself, Jhun has spent the last two years in the 170 pound division locking horns with UFC vets like Shonie Carter and Dennis Hallman. "It wasn’t like I was forced into fighting at 185," Jhun says of his recent assignment. "They offered it to me, and I thought it was a big opportunity." However, if all goes well, Jhun says he will look to secure a welterweight match-up next.

Brazilian Top Team ready for action, Busta ready for Hendo, Brazil ready for another wave of MMA shows and Belfort ready for TV!

The Brazilian Beat:
      We’re sailing through the year of 2004 and as we enter the month of July the second half of our run has already started. As one might guess, all the focus in Brazil is now geared towards Pride Bushido 4, mostly on the Brazilian Top Team camp as the team is having an extremely busy period, with almost all of their professional fighters competing in shows everywhere. Well, since the very end of May BTT had two fighters at Jungle Fight 2, two fighters at Meca 11, two fighters at the last Pride show, five fighters at Gladiator FC in Korea and will now feature four fighters at Pride Bushido 4! Pretty impressive if you ask me, and with Rodrigo Minotauro preparing for his tough task ahead at the final leg of the Pride Heavyweight GP, training is going berserk in the academy. Because of that, most of this column is dedicated to news regarding the Brazilian Top Team, as lots of things are taking place in Rio de Janeiro. However, this is not all, winter has brought more than cold for Brazil as plenty of minor MMA shows are giving fighters a chance to keep active, and, as always, we’ll report on that and a bit more, so pick-up your blanket and fight the cold of the strange Brazilian winter as FCF warms things up with a melodious Beat straight from Brazil!

  • The Brazilian Top Team headquarters are totally busy right now with Pride Bushido 4 coming up, featuring the BTT vs. Japan challenge. Four members of the team will be competing, as Paulo Filho and Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira are both coming from wins in Korea and giving rematches at Bushido to Akira Shoji and Kazuhiro Nakamura. His teammates Luis Firmino "Buscape", a veteran of M-1 in Russia, and Fabio Mello, a veteran of Deep in Japan, will be making their Pride debuts completing the BTT team in the show. Training is going strong in the academy and hopes are high for a great outing from all fighters and mostly eagerly awaiting the Pride debut of "Buscape" as he has been unstoppable at his weight in Brazil and is bound to make some noise in Japan.
  • Contrary to recent Internet rumors, former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante won’t be taking part at Pride Bushido 4 fighting against Japanese star Hayato Sakurai. Word has that this fighting won’t take place and is nothing but a rumor. Bustamante is, however, helping his team preparation for the show and starting his own preparation for a rematch against Team Quest’s own Dan Henderson, at the August Pride show. Although it’s not official yet, chances are very high that this match-up is going to take place.
  • Staying on the BTT subject, Brazilian Top Team fighter Fabio Mello will have a tough task as red and hot Takanori Gomi will be standing on the other corner at this Pride debut. Meca 11 winner Milton Vieira was cogitated as Gomi’s opponent, and due to weight reasons was the favorite on the BTT camp to take this task. However, DSE liked the idea of having Mello against Gomi better, and some are concerned about the weight difference between the two fighters. But since everything in life has its positive side, word has that Mello got a two fight deal with DSE so despite the outcome of his fight against Gomi he will return to the Pride ring. Also, if both Gomi and "Buscape" both win their fights, there’s a big chance that a fight between the two will be promoted by Pride in the near future.

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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