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Friday, Mar 23, 2001

Return Of The Hammer

FCF Pride-13 Previews…
Return of the Hammer
By Josh Gross

Mark Coleman and Randy Couture
      TOKYO – It’s been 10 months since we last saw Mark Coleman strap on his gloves and steamroll his way through last May’s Pride Grand Prix. Coleman’s victory over Igor Vovchanchyn in the finals skyrocketed him back to the top of the heavyweight division; regaining all credibility he lost since his heydays in the UFC.
      "I’m excited to get back in there," Coleman said. "It’s been a long time and it’s time to get back in there. Due to circumstances out of my control I haven’t fought sooner, but things have come together for me now and it’s time to get back in the ring."
      A focused, hungry Mark Coleman is a scary thought for any opponent standing across from him. While many wanted to see a rematch versus Vovchanchyn or a classic battle against fellow pioneer Ken Shamrock, Pride signed a smaller Allen Goes to take on the "Hammer".
      "He has potential to pose a risk to me," Coleman said about Goes. "He’s very dangerous in submission and is a well rounded fighter. He comes from Brazil, so I know he’s got a strong heart. It’s going to be a tough fight."
      Goes, one of the founding members of the "Top Team", is very dangerous from his guard. Although Coleman has spent countless hours training to pass the guard, and has been one of the more successful men to do that, he doesn’t seem confident in his ability to get by Goes’ legs.
Mark Coleman and Randy Couture
      "I was very one dimensional in the beginning. With no rules I didn’t really need to know a lot, but when they added rules and took away the head-butts, I needed to learn submission and learn stand-up. However, I don’t think I’ll try to pass Goes’ guard. I’ll probably try to score some points inside the guard. I know this is entertainment, and I don’t like to get booed. So if not much is happening I’ll try and stand back up."
      By all accounts, Coleman wants this fight on his feet. Unless something freaky happens, the chances of Goes taking Coleman down aren’t high.
      "A knockout is the only thing I don’t have in my book, so I’m going to try and knock him out. I don’t think he can take me down, but he may come out throwing big haymakers because he doesn’t care if he gets taken down or not. If anything, he may try to jump into the guard."
      A major concern for Coleman is his cardio. The 10-month layoff has to weigh heavily on his mind, and any doubt he may have about his shape heading into the fight could cause a big problem.
      "I think I’m in good shape, but it’s been such a long time we’ll have to wait and see. We’ll see what kind of rust I have, but I feel good and confident that I’m going to get the win."
      Despite Coleman’s mental uncertainty, his physical appearance is better than ever. He’s fighting at 224lbs, a weight he’s not been since the Olympic years of 1992 and 1996. He’s down nearly 25lbs from his largest fight weight roughly two-years ago, and down 11lbs from his Grand Prix weight. Don’t expect him to be any less powerful, and as an added bonus Coleman could be quicker than ever.
Mark Coleman and Randy Couture
      Even though Coleman didn’t sign his fight with Goes until a week before the show, his training has been consistent. He headed to Pat Miletich’s school in Iowa at the very end of his training for one week to fine tune any rough edges.
      "He’s a great coach," the Ohio native said about Miletich. "He knows what he’s doing. The work had been done, and although there’s not much you can do in a week he boosted my confidence. He feels I’m ready for a war on my feet, and he gave me the thumbs up on my stand-up game so, I’m going to try and take it to Goes."
      All that remains to be seen is whether the Mark Coleman that emerged at the Pride Grand Prix can reemerge at Pride 13. We’ll find out tomorrow.

Champions Forever:
Mark Coleman is pictured training with UFC Heavyweight Champ Randy Couture in preparation for Mark’s battle at Pride 13.

Champions Forever:
Mark Coleman is pictured training with UFC Heavyweight Champ Randy Couture in preparation for Mark’s battle at Pride 13.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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