Roger Bowling Excited to Fight “Number One Contender” Tarec Saffiedine, Says “I’m Addicted to Knocking People Out”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Now that Nate Marquardt has laid claim to the Strikeforce welterweight belt, which Nick Diaz left behind when he moved over to the UFC, the debate as to who will face the new champ is underway. Front and center in this discussion is the resurgent Roger Bowling, who hopes to eliminate one of his leading competitors on August 18th, when he fights Tarec Saffiedine.
“Right there at the top; right there at the top you know?” Bowling said, while discussing where he believes he will be positioned provided he defeats Saffiedine. “I believe Tarec is the number one contender right now for the belt, so, getting to fight him is going to catapult me right there.”
Aside from a unanimous decision loss to the highly regarded Tyron Woodley last January, Saffiedine has won all four of his other Strikeforce bouts. To date, the Team Quest fighter has scored wins over Nate Moore, James Terry, Scott Smith and most recently Tyler Stinson under the Strikeforce banner.
“I wanted a tough dude man; somebody who’s well known like Tarec,” Bowling furthered. “So I was really, really happy that they offered him up and I’m really excited for the opportunity to fight him.”
“He’s right up there at the top and I’m breaking through too so I think it’s a good fight for both of us,” added Bowling. “It’s going to be a great fight for the fans.”
Bowling mentioned “breaking through”, as since he was stopped by Bobby Voelker last July to end their memorable rubber match series, the 29 year-old has scored back-to-back stoppage wins.
In December, Bowling knocked out Jerron Peoples in just 42 seconds, and this past March, he stopped Brandon Saling in the second round to extend his overall record to 11-2.
“It was important for my career, but it was really important for me to get my confidence back,” Bowling noted. “I felt like Bobby was my kryptonite man; the eye poke, and then the second fight me breaking my leg, and the last fight getting caught with that knee…that guy man. I don’t know. He’s my kryptonite.”
When Full Contact Fighter spoke with Saffiedine recently, the experienced striker was quick to credit Bowling for his explosiveness, but relayed that he believed he was the more technical fighter. As a result, Saffiedine believes Bowling may look to close the distance or try to take the fight to the mat.
“I’m going to feel him out; I know he’s a technical striker and I’m training for that,” said Bowling, when asked to comment on Saffiedine’s analysis. “I have a boxing background too. He’s more of a kickboxer, where as I’m more of a boxer. I want to go out there and take it as it comes. I think I can definitely exploit some of his weaknesses.”
In other words, while Saffiedine continues to work on all areas of his game, so is the pugilist Bowling.
“I’m training all aspects of the game everyday,” Bowling noted. “I always say jiu jitsu is my biggest weakness but I’m in there all the time with black belts, and submitting those guys. I do great against jiu jitsu guys and I train with top notch wrestlers.”
“Striking’s always first because it comes naturally to me,” the Ohio fighter noted. “I love it and it’s normally what the fans want to see. I love it when the fans go crazy when you land a good punch and knock someone out. I’m addicted to knocking people out; I love the feeling of finishing a fight that way, but as you get to the upper levels these guys are good strikers too so you have to take them out of their element.”
The upcoming August 18th Strikeforce card will be hosted by San Diego’s Valley View Casino Centre.