WSOF 8: Mike Kyle Plans to “Push the Fight” and Anthony Johnson’s Cardio
By Kelsey Mowatt
Mike Kyle may have taken former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski the distance at World Series of Fighting 5 last September, but the rugged vet has evidently decided his best is at 205 pounds. In other words, as Kyle heads into his bout this Saturday with light-heavyweight Anthony Johnson, it sounds like his days of fighting the Fabricio Werdums and “Bigfoot” Silvas of the sport could be over.
“It’s been a pretty good camp and I’m getting in great shape, and it’s good to be dropping back down to 205,” Kyle (20-10-1) admitted on a recent media call to promote WSOF 8. “That’s a goal of mine; to really fight at a lighter weight class, 205, be the bigger opponent.”
After Kyle dropped a unanimous decision to Arlovski, the 33 year-old fighter was booked to fight Johnson at WSOF 7 in December, however, a broken toe forced Kyle to withdraw. Instead of bringing in a replacement for Kyle though, WSOF decided to re-book the fight for January 18th. The bout will headline the Hollywood, Florida, bound event.
“I’m really excited for this fight; been waiting a long time for this fight,” said Kyle, who trains out of the renowned American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. “Preparing for this fight, it’s been battles, it’s always battles, staying injury free when you’re sparring against some of the top guys in the world.”
“I’m backing off of training now and I’ll be prepared come fight night,” added Kyle, who prior to facing Arlovski, knocked out Travis Wiuff while competing for Championship Fighting Alliance in May. “This next year, I plan on it being a great year for me and I’m really trying to get smarter on my training, stay away from the injuries, and that way World Series of Fighting can use me. I’m a guy that likes to take fights.”
While Kyle is returning to light-heavyweight, in Johnson (15-4), he’ll take on another of WSOF’s biggest names. Not only that, but he’ll take on a man who defeated Arlovski by UD last March, and is 8-2 in his last 10 fights.
“It makes for a good fight, an exciting fight,” said Kyle, when asked to assess Johnson and the 29 year-old’s feared striking skills. “Both of us like to strike and both of us have the ability to wrestle, and hopefully he likes to stand and trade with me, and I’m prepared for it all.”
In Johnson’s other WSOF performance, which took place in November, 2012, the UFC vet knocked out DJ Linderman in the opening round.
“I know he’s got a good camp behind him right now,” Kyle noted about Johnson, who trains out of the accomplished Blackzilians camp in Florida. “So, we’re in for a great, exciting fight. I really want to push the fight, push his cardio, and that’s one of the big things I’m really pushing; I’m going to come out and see what kind of shape he’s really in.”
WSOF 8 will be hosted by Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and will also feature Justin Gaethje versus Rich Patishnock to determine the promotion’s lightweight champ.
The event’s main card will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.