by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Pride FC has announced two more fights to its United States debut on October 21st, Joey Villasenor vs. Robbie Lawler and Marvin Eastman vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura. If the rumors on the Internet are indication, the Villasenor/Lawler fight is one of the more highly anticipated fights on The Real Deal.
As the fight announcement was hot off the presses, Joey Villasenor made an appearance on MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio Monday night to discuss the fight, calling it an “honor” to fight on such a big show in the U.S.
He knows that this is a big fight for both of them. Lawler lost recently to Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Villasenor lost his last Pride fight in a split decision to Ryo Chonan. “As an athlete, we push ourselves and we’re driven to success,” Villasenor commented on the loss. “I felt like I won, but I don’t take anything away from the judges.”
Despite the loss, he is already back on the winning track (with a win over John Cronk at a recent King of the Cage event) and looking to start a new streak. “That was my first loss after 15 straight… but it kind of takes a monkey off my back. Of course everybody wants to go on an undefeated streak… but I’m just driven to get back on one of those winning streaks.”
A lot has been made recently about Pride having to conform some of their rules to those in use by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Most notably, knees and kicks to the head of a downed opponent are illegal in Nevada and while elbows are legal, Pride has decided to stand by their own rules, which is their option, and keep elbows out of the competition when they debut in Las Vegas.
“They take away the elbows… I’m down for that. I’d like to see a fight finished naturally… without a cut,” commented Villasenor. “But I’m sure going to miss the knees to the head and the kicks to the head and the stomps, they’re just a part of my game that I have naturally. I’m going to miss that.”
Although the rule changes take away some of his arsenal, Villasenor doesn’t sound to be shaken by it. He knows that he just has to prepare and have the right game plan when he steps in the ring across from Lawler, “We’re going to try and take him out of his element. We’re going to come up with a special plan for him. He’s tough as nails, so we’ve got to come up with a great plan for a great fighter from a great team.”
Villasenor is part of one of the hottest teams in MMA right now. Along with Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Diego Sanchez, and many more, he gains a lot of confidence from being part of Jackson’s Submission Fighting team. “We pride ourselves on being the most conditioned team in MMA. So, look for the tempo to be high… that’s the way we like it. A nice suffering, grueling match.”
With both fighters having a propensity for heavy hands, this could easily end up being one of those “fight of the night” type of contests. We’ll find out on October 21st if Villasenor can continue to build a new winning streak or if Lawler will be starting one of his own.