by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
At this weekend’s upcoming PRIDE: The Real Deal we could be very well witness to the last chance for big time MMA exposure for two fighters with contrastingly different personalities that find themselves in the same situation, Kevin Randleman and Robbie Lawler.
Without question there are two fighters that might not be as on the opposite end of the personality spectrum as Randleman and Lawler are. Kevin has long been known for a fiery intensity whereas Lawler has always had a quieter selfhood.
Both fighters also have contradictory styles of fighting. Randleman has long used his lengthy wrestling background to slam and ground ‘n pound fighters whereas Lawler is a striker through and through.
Even with their differences however both Kevin and Robbie have similarities, including the situations they currently find themselves in heading towards Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Each fighter started off quickly, receiving a tremendous amount of push shortly after making their respective MMA debuts. Both seemed destined for stardom and achieved it only to fall into a rollercoaster-like up and down trip after initial successes.
In light of recent disappointments both Randleman and Lawler are in desperate need of wins if they are to remain in the big time MMA fight game. Nevertheless things may be more urgent or worse off (depending on your point of view) for Kevin at this point.
Scheduled to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at The Real Deal, Randleman has lost six of his last eight fights – including horribly placid performances against Kazushi Sakuraba, Ron Waterman and Kazuhiro Nakamura – and now in his mid 30’s the clock isn’t on his side.
While teammate Mark Coleman, former opponent Bas Rutten and fellow wrestler Randy Couture were able to fight into their 40’s, their margin for success in their later years transposed that of Randleman’s.
On the other hand there may be a bigger window for opportunity for the much younger Lawler, even though he has only gone .500 over the last four years.
Robbie’s biggest obstacle towards maintaining success and remaining in the big promotions could be his difficulty defending submissions, which could come in major play against extremely well-rounded Joey Villasenor Saturday evening.
For Kevin Randleman and Robbie Lawler, PRIDE: The Real Deal could be their last shot at the big time. Losing is not an option either can afford right now. If they can pull of wins over their respective and favored opponents they may still be viable commodities for PRIDE or other promotions looking to add their names to company rosters.