Shane Roller Looking to Strike With Jacob Volkmann: “I Go Out There and Throw Hard Shots to Finish the Fight”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Since arriving in the UFC last year, not only has Shane Roller been kept busy by his employers, but the lightweight has faced his fair share of highs and lows. In July, of course, Roller worked his way to a unanimous decision win over John Alessio to end a three fight losing skid and fend off his walking papers. Now, the 33 year-old-fighter will try to become just the second man at 155 pounds to hand Jacob Volkmann a defeat, and lock up yet another pivotal bout in the process.
“Yeah, for sure; there’s a lot riding on every fight in the UFC,” Roller (11-6) told Full Contact Fighter, while discussing the importance of Friday’s bout with Volkmann. “It’s been a do or die situation that I’ve been looking at for the last few fights. Whenever I step in there, I have to do whatever it takes to get that W. There’s only one mind set: find a way to win.”
Although Volkmann (14-3) is coming off a submission loss to Paul Sass in May, prior to that the Minnesota fighter had been progressively working his way up the lightweight ranks. After making the decision to abandon the welterweight division, following a submission loss to Martin Kampmann, Volkmann went on to win five straight.
“He’s a good fighter,” said Roller. “I actually knew him when he was a college wrestler; he uses it well in his fights. He takes people down and controls them. He hasn’t had many finishes in the UFC, just gets on top and controls his opponents. I don’t think he’s really comfortable with the stand-up. I think it’s pretty obvious that his game-plan is to take people to the ground, and that’s usually my game-plan too, but I’m going to feel confident standing with him for sure.”
“I think my biggest advantage will be standing,” added Roller, who KO’d Thiago Tavares in his UFC debut last March. “I feel very comfortable on the ground; I’m always very comfortable no matter who I’m fighting…be it on top or on the mat looking for submissions from underneath. I’m not afraid to go anywhere for this fight.”
Roller noted that both men like to utilize the wrestling skills they honed during their time as NCAA Division 1 competitors, and it will be interesting to see how their grappling abilities play out in the fight.
“I’m always confident,” Roller noted, when asked if he believes he’ll be able to dictate where the UFC on FX 5 card bout will take place. “I think he’s a three time All American at Minnesota, so he’s got great wrestling, but I’m not afraid of him taking a shot. If he does he’ll give me the position to sprawl, take his back of whatever; I’m going to feel confident.”
“I’m not just going to be running from him, pushing him trying to keep it standing,” the three-time All American wrestler at Oklahoma State added. “If I get the opportunity to get a dominant position when he shoots, I’m definitely going to take it.”
Of course, Roller is likely headed to Minneapolis this weekend as a result of his aforementioned win over Alessio in July. Like Roller noted, he was facing a “do or die situation” at UFC 148 and came through with the much needed win.
“I thought it was a really solid performance over a guy who’s had a lot of fights,” noted Roller. “I’m a guy who’s always looking to finish fights, so I was a little disappointed that I didn’t finish him, but then again, that’s all he was worried about when I was on top. His whole thing was to protect his neck and control my hands and stop me from doing the things I wanted to do. I just have to find different ways to open them up for my shots and chokes.”
And what kind of fight does Roller expect fans to see Friday night?
“I think it could definitely be over quick,” said Roller. “That’s what I do; I go out there and throw hard shots to finish the fight….but I’m prepared for a three round battle. You can’t ever get your mind set on one thing.”