By Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Travis “The Serial Killer” Lutter heads into the Ultimate Fighting Championship octagon this weekend against Rich “Ace” Franklin confident and eager to get one step closer to a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
Lutter hasn’t fought in more than a year, losing to Anderson Silva in Feb. of 2007. He was scheduled to compete in August but a neck injury in training put the middleweight contender on the sidelines.
Healthy and ready to go, Lutter looks forward to fighting Franklin. “Rich is a really, really good fighter,” Lutter told MMAWeekly. “A lot of people I don’t think are giving him the respect he deserves because of the Anderson Silva fights. I’m excited to be given the opportunity to fight him. The Rich Franklin’s of the world are who I want to fight.”
Lutter failed to make weight for his match with Anderson Silva and subsequently the advertised five-round title bout was relegated to a three-round confrontation. Asked what he’s going to do different this time to ensure he tips the scales at the 186 pound limitation for non-title middleweight contests, Lutter explained, “As far as the weight, I’m going back to the weights that I’ve cut in the (Ultimate Fighter) house. I’m not going to try to do the monster cut anymore. I’m going to do a cut that’s a lot more reasonable and a lot more guys do.”
“I’m going to do around 195 pounds instead of 205 and cut from there. Plus, I think I cut from 208 for the Anderson Silva fight. I’m just coming into the fight a lot smaller, or a lot lighter I should say.”
Along with his weight cutting technique, Lutter changed up his training camp in preparation for Rich Franklin traveling to Boston for a week to work with Mark DellaGrotte at his Sityodtong training center.
“I went up there and spent a week with Mark,” explained Lutter. “It was good to work with Mark, but I feel like I prepare my best when I’m at home. It’s just easier for me to train with the guys that I’m training with all the time. I’ve got a real good group of guys that come in here. Mark kind of gave us the game plan, so I went out there and worked game plan, so then I come back here and work on making that game plan work.”
“Mark is a master of putting together a game plan and helping taking away what your opponent’s going to do,” commented the Texan. “That’s why so many guys are using him. That’s why I’m using him. I think it’s a good compliment to what I do.”
The stylistic match up between Travis Lutter and Rich Franklin can be oversimplified into a striker versus a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. “It”s never a secret what I go out there and do, stated Lutter. “I do the same thing for basically every fight. I go out there and try to take the guy down.”
“I’m a guy that’s going to go out there and I’m going to fight to my strengths. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to try to take Rich down, and I’m going to beat him up. That’s what I do. If I can’t take him down than it’s going to be a long day for me. If he can’t stop me from taking him down, it’s a long day for him.”
Lutter expects to be the one imposing his will at UFC 83. He predicted, “I’m going to circle with him. I’m going to take him down and I’m going to beat him up.”