01-18-2010, 11:09 AM
Status: Peace Could last Forever
Join Date: Feb 2008
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| | Lashley Strikeforce Read
WWE Star Bobby Lashley is a Bust for Strikeforce | Fighters.com / Mixed Martial Arts News
Strikeforce is still working on getting the contracts signed for Fighters.com’s second-ranked super heavyweight “Dominator” Bobby Lashley (4-0) and fifth-ranked “Titan” Jimmy Ambriz (14-8) for the January 30 Strikeforce car in Miami. According to most reports there is no guarantee this fight will take place. Bobby Lashley is a man Strikeforce is hoping will develop nicely and be a star for the promotion, yet I see Bobby Lashley being unable to make the climb to the top tier of mixed martial arts (MMA). |
There is no denying that Lashley is an athlete. He is a two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) wrestling champion. He wrestled in the Army and was training to compete in the Olympics in 2003 before being injured. After the injury Bobby went to professional wrestling where he would later become a “world champion” He has natural athletic ability but his wrestling credits are not on par with the likes of another pro wrestler turned MMA fighter, Fighters.com’s second ranked heavyweight and UFC champion Brock Lesnar (4-1). Brock’s success inside the Octagon have come from his massive size advantage accompanied by his elite wrestling abilities. It is tough to compare a NAIA champion to a NCAA National champion but most would agree that the better wrestler would be the NCAA champion. Brock is not someone we can compare Lashley to despite the parallels in their careers. Bobby is not Brock and will not see the success Brock has seen thus far in MMA.
I do like the fact that Bobby is taking things slow and not trying to rush into the largest fights right away. He wants to try and develop his skills the right way however his ability to grasp the finer points of the sport at 33 years of age with minimal training is something that will hamper his future. I have seen all four of his fights and have not seen the progression in his game that I expected to see training with a team like American Top Team.
His last fight against “The Beast” Bob Sapp (10-5-1) was evident of his lack of progression. He talked about showing off his hands in the fight but I think we all knew better. He went in for the shot right away and took Sapp to the spot he did not want to be, on his back. Once there Lashley worked some ground and pound but what stood at to me was that he stayed in Sapps’ half guard. I like half guard for some good ground and pound but passing and going to side control gives you so many more options to finish a fight. Bobby has the hips of a wrestler and can control people with them so I was shocked he never attempted a pass. It leads me to believe that his ground game is not evolving as quick as it needs. Most wrestlers seem to do well from the top and have very little trouble transitioning from dominant position to dominant position.
There are a couple other issues with his development that I have noticed. First would be his inability to take down an opponent like Jason Guida (18-22). Guida is a journeyman fighter that has fought in the WEC, EliteXC, World Victory Road and on The Ultimate Fighter. His submission game is good but I have never been impressed with is take down defense. When this fight started Lashley went for the take down and had it stuffed by Guida. He tried multiple take downs which were unsuccessful. If these were take downs against an accomplished wrestler then I could give him some leeway but I feel he should have been able to get Guida to the ground much quicker. If he continues to have issues taking fighters to the ground then he will need to bring his stand up game along much faster than what we have seen thus far.
Next would be the striking game we have seen from Lashley. His stand up is quite wild and he throws very wide, looping punches. He has only had four fights but I thought we would see little bits of improvement from him from his first fight to his last against Sapp. This however was not the case and this is a major problem considering the aforementioned issue with getting take downs. I will give him credit for some head movement even though it waqs minimal and seemed to fade as his fight went into the second and third rounds. It is tough to get a true indication of his striking game since the fight with Sapp went to the mat right away so his next fight I will be watching closely to see if he is picking up this aspect of the sport. Striking has been a tough aspect for wrestlers to incorporate into their arsenal but as of late we have seen wrestlers make huge strides in that department.
Can Lashley improve fast enough to be a viable star for Strikeforce is the big question. I don’t feel his athleticism is enough to carry him forward and I feel his game must evolve faster than we have seen in order for Strikeforce to be able to market him as a star in the making. Sadly, due to the fact that we have seen very little in the way of improvement from him against sub par fighters, there is nothing that leads me to believe Bobby Lashley will be able to reach the upper echelons of the heavyweight division in Strikeforce.
I could be wrong and if you feel that I am then feel free to join me and New York Gary Freidman on MMA Gospel Radio every Wednesday from 8-10 PM EST at MMA Gospel Radio on Blog Talk Radio. You can register with Blog Talk and join us in the Cageside Chatroom to discuss this and all the other topics we discuss on air. You can also call in to the show and talk to us directly by dialing 347-857-1337.