Titan FC 28: Kalib Starnes Says “Playing to My Strengths”, Renewed Love for Fighting, Behind Recent Successes
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following a three fight losing streak in 2012, there may have been some who concluded that Kalib Starnes would not return to a big stage MMA promotion anytime soon, if ever. Well, thanks to a four fight win streak that features three stoppage victories, Starnes has been tapped to fight Dave Herman, May 16th at Titan FC 28. The heavyweight bout will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. The booking comes several months after Starnes knocked out Dwayne Lewis, while competing for another larger promotion, World Series of Fighting.
While Starnes credits renowned boxing trainers like Tony Pep and Howard Davis Jr. for improving his striking, the 39 year-old also cites other factors for his recent success.
“Just playing to my strengths,” Starnes noted on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “You know what, I’m a guy with a good chin, who hits hard, and I never fought like that for most of my career. I didn’t want to be in exchanges, I didn’t want to box and I wanted to take the guy down and win by submission, and not get hit, and fight that more, sort of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu style, you know what I mean?”
“Really…I prefer this, I prefer to fight like this right now,” added Starnes, whose standing elbow KO of Lewis in December garnered the Canadian fighter some attention south of the border. “That’s working well for me, you know what I mean? And I also know that if I get taken down, I know that I’ve got 20 years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and I know how to tie people up…If I have a good camp I can grapple with anybody, so I feel like I’m really well rounded right now.”
As a result of Starnes’ recent run, the former middleweight has turned his post-UFC record into a winning one, since his well documented exit from the promotion in 2008.
“For a long time, even when I was in the UFC, I didn’t feel like…fighting wasn’t that important to me as a person,” said Starnes, who hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since he was decisioned by Nate Quarry at UFC 83. “What I was doing, pushing myself in a career that wasn’t like a priority for me, I don’t know if that’s easy to understand. It’s the kind of thing where if you don’t really want to be there, and you don’t really want it, and you’re not really enjoying the fighting and everything else that goes along with it, you shouldn’t be there.”
Starnes also went through a divorce, and a “lot of different personal” things, and admits he was hardly training for fights after leaving the UFC. More recently, however, Starnes reports things are dramatically different.
“Right now I’ve changed my lifestyle around, where I’ve got really good people around me, I’m happy and working really hard everyday in the gym,” the Surrey fighter furthered. “I want to get in there and fight, I like to get in there and fight, and I’m looking forward to it every time I go in there. I want to go and throw down with guys right now.”
Up next, Starnes will “throw down” with Herman, who will be looking to end the four fight losing skid, which led to his UFC exit.
“His striking looked great against (Stefan) Struve, and I’ve seen fights where his wrestling, grappling looked good. I’ve seen him win with a omoplata submission before,” Starnes noted about Herman. “Then I’ve seen him come out and look really flat…I think a healthy Dave Herman with his head in there, who is focused and is trying to win it is a dangerous opponent for sure.”
Titan FC 28 will be hosted by the First Council Casino Hotel in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
For more on Starnes and his thoughts on competing at heavyweight, head here.