September 10, 2010

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com Trevor Prangley is a UFC veteran, a Strikeforce veteran, was Bodog’s middleweight champion, was MFC’s light heavyweight champion, and is the current Shark Fights light heavyweight champion.

Coming off of a loss to Tim Kennedy and a draw with Karl Amoussou before that, Prangley has been down on himself. He’s looking to make things right when he faces fellow UFC veteran Keith Jardine on Saturday night at Shark Fights 13, the promotion’s first pay-per-view effort.

“The pressure is just as great for me. Anybody can survive a loss. I’ve done it before. A lot of other great fighters have done it before me, but nobody wants to do it, especially when you’re in the twilight of your career,” he told MMAWeekly.com.

“I want to end my career on the best note of the entire career. (The pressure is on me) for my own personal accomplishments. I want to be back to where I was and I want to be respected the way I was. My last two fights, I wasn’t very happy with my performances.”

Prangley thinks that he has figured out much of what his problem was in what he characterizes as poor performances against Kennedy and Amoussou… time. He has a penchant for taking fights on short notice. This fight with Jardine is the first time in a long time that he hasn’t been rushed into battle.

“I had a full camp for the first time in three fights. I’m back to where I want to be and where I should be for a fight of this size,” he said.

“I realized that I need a six-week camp. I can’t be doing these two-and-a-half, three-week notices, a weight cutting camp instead of a training camp.”

Aside from having plenty of notice to prepare for Jardine, Prangley, normally a 185-pound fighter despite wearing Shark Fights’ belt for the 205-pound division, doesn’t even have to worry about cutting weight for this fight. If anything, he could put on some weight if he wanted, but he’s not going that route either.

“I’m not a big believer in I’ve got to bulk up for this fight. I think that would hurt me more than anything. I’m gonna come in a little small in the fight,” he declared.

“I believe not having to cut the weight is gonna nullify any of the advantages of not being as big as the other guy.

“I’ve always said I’m a 185er. To be honest with you, I prefer to not fight guys the caliber of Keith Jardine at 205. The fight was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. High risk yields high rewards.”

Of course, Jardine is seen by many as damaged goods, having been shown the Octagon door after losing four straight bouts. Granted, he wasn’t exactly fighting any slouches there. Those four losses were to Matt Hamill, Ryan Bader, Thiago Silva, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a fact not lost on his South African opponent.

“I don’t care what the guy’s record is. I’ve seen him fight; everybody has seen him fight. He’s super dangerous. Just because the guy has a bad luck fight or gets caught a couple of times doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t make you any less of a danger in the ring.”

Especially when one of Jardine’s strong points flies directly in the face of one of Prangley’s key strengths… wrestling. Jardine has a strong takedown defense, which he showed on occasion against Bader and Hamill, both highly acclaimed wrestlers, just like Prangley.

That’s something that he’s kept in mind and planned for with an emphasis on sparring with his teammates at American Kickboxing Academy, the home of fighters such as Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Josh Thomson, Cain Velasquez, and numerous other top fighters.

“(His takedown defense has) put a different spin on the way I look at this fight and the way I’m coming out and fighting in it,” he said, adding, “If people think I’m just going in there to shoot and take him down, I think they’re in for a big surprise.

“I’m going out there and I’m putting it all on the line. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been this excited and this confident about a fight.”