by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Karo Parisyan went into his last fight, at UFC 71, looking for a victory and a title shot. With a dominant performance over a tenacious Josh Burkman, he surely took a step in the right direction.
Burkman brought a 4-1 record into the fight with Parisyan, but the highly experienced Judo practitioner was just too much for him. With the victory over ‘The People’s Warrior’, Karo has won six of his last seven fights and has looked impressive.
The key to Parisyan winning his bout at UFC 71 was conditioning. Karo has gassed out in the past, but not in this fight. “I trained for this fight,” Parisyan said. “Not hard. But I trained for this fight more than I trained for the Diego fight and the Fickett fight. Like I said, I knew he had nothing for me. He’s a strong guy, but his cardio was shit. Thank god it wasn’t that good. I out-conditioned him.”
Karo has implemented his world class Judo into mixed martial arts better than any other fighter. His judo played a part in his victory on Saturday. At one point in the clinch, Parisyan executed a beautiful hip toss that seemed to rattle Burkman. “I’ve been doing this for sixteen years in this country. Thank god I’m one of the fortunate ones to bring judo into MMA. Eventually if he clinches with me, I’m gonna throw him and that’s what happened.”
Another very noticeable difference in Karo’s game was his striking. It was clean and crisp. A series of jabs and counters kept Burkman from ever truly hurting Karo. Parisyan dictated the pace of the fight and never let his opponent get any momentum. “The funny thing is that I’ve always had decent hands, but I never showed them in my fight. Lately, I’ve been enjoying staying on the feet and punching with them. I’m a submission guy and a judo guy. But I’m enjoying standing up.”
Many experts predicted this fight to be the fight of the night. In many fans’ eyes, it was the fight of the night, but unfortunately, UFC President Dana White picked the Chris Leben-Kalib Starnes fight. “I wanted to get ‘fight of the night’ and I didn’t. They gave it to Kalib and Leben. I don’t want to be an ass,” said Karo. “Truthfully, I thought we had fight of the night. It is what it is. They got it. My hat is off to them.”
‘The Heat’ didn’t walk away empty handed though. Dana White thought that Karo put on a great performance and rewarded him. “After the fight, Dana came up and gave me a personal check, some kind of a bonus. He said, ‘Good job kid. I love you. You did good.’
With the win over Burkman, Parisyan has to be in title contention. At the post fight press conference, White eluded to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra having their fight in late fall, which means that if Karo were to get a title shot, it wouldn’t be until 2008. “He didn’t say no and he didn’t say yes, but I have a feeling I’m gonna have another fight before a title shot.”
There has been some clamor for Karo to get a fight with Jon Fitch to determine a number one contender spot. This seems like a likely scenario due to the fact that Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck are tentatively scheduled to square off in August. Next to those two, Fitch and Parisyan are obviously at the top of the list for a title shot.
Parisyan has no problem taking on Fitch. In fact, he embraces it. “I would love to fight Fitch. I’ll fight anybody at 170. I took the Josh Burkman fight. He was ranked top 10 in the world. Anyone who’s top 10, I’ll fight. Even me beating Jon Fitch, and I fight him and I beat him, I don’t gain anything. He’s a tough guy. I’m not underestimating Fitch. But still, I don’t gain anything beating Fitch, but I would fight Fitch. I want to fight for a title.”