Strikeforce welterweight Roger Bowling understands that he’s still very much in the learning process of his young career.
Suffering his only loss this past October to Bobby Voelker in a rematch of their May 2010 bout, Bowling found out that he can’t approach every fight with the same mentality.
“In previous fights I’ve had, I would end people in the first round and have a quick fight; (against Voelker in our rematch) I learned to develop as a fighter and pace myself for however many rounds it might be, because there’s just guys out there that you’re not going to be able to knock out all the time,” said Bowling.
“I’ve learned to relax a little bit more and settle into my fights.”
Bowling continued his development as he rebounded in a unanimous decision win over Josh Thornburg in March.
“My game plan – because I thought he was more of a ground guy – was to keep it standing the whole time,” said Bowling of Thornburg. “But to be honest with you, I thought his ground game was so weak after we got in there, and my wrestling was so much better, that it was easier to pick him apart on the ground.
“I learned to just to be able to develop in the fight, and if something different happens in the fight and be able to react to that and make changes while I’m fighting.”
Bowling hopes to be able to take the lessons he’s learned over his past couple fights to win the rubber match between he and Voelker on Friday night at Strikeforce Challengers 17 in Las Vegas.
“Everybody knows that the biggest things about Bobby are his heart and his iron chin,” Bowling told MMAWeekly.com. “I don’t think he’s going to change up a whole lot, where I’ve taken a little bit from each of the fights and have put that towards my game a little.
“I’m expecting the best Bobby, but for this fight he’s going to get the best Roger, too. I’m excited and pumped up.”
With Strikeforce under UFC owner Zuffa’s control now, Bowling knows he has to make a mark in this fight if he hopes to continue fighting under the new regime.
“I definitely feel like I’ve got to prove myself, and I feel like I will after Friday night,” he said. “I’ll just do whatever I can do in the eyes of the UFC (ownership) and push my career forward.”
If he continues to learn and develop from each encounter like he has been doing, Bowling’s future continues to look bright in the years to come.
“I want to thank Casey with Training Mask, Intimidation Clothing, Jerry at Annihilation Productions and all my training partners and everyone at Team Vision,” concluded Bowling. “Make sure that if you’re not able to come out to The Palms on Friday night, that you’re watching on Showtime; you don’t want to miss it.”