"I don’t know where it’s going to go. I know that I’m going to win. I got this thing out there called a Cuban Style. You can ask anybody in my training camp about it. The Cuban Style’s going to win. You know what I’m saying. You’ll see the Cuban Style come fight time. It’s a new thing I just put together, it’s pretty damn raw. If you watch the Cubans in boxing and wrestling and judo, they have a certain style of fight that I’m going to implement in this fight.... It’s tight."
-- "Havana" Mo Lawal talks about his new style, which he will showcase on CBS against Gegard Mousasi for the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship
Strikeforce held a media conference call today (April 6) to promote its co-main event light-heavyweight title fight between champion Gegard Mousasi and challenger "King" Mo Lawal on the promotion's April 17 "Nashville" card.
There were fireworks at a recent press conference between these two, and their comments in the media suggest an intense dislike for each other.
Here's a sampling of some of the more pertinent remarks made by both fighters this afternoon:
The champ was in Holland for the conference call. He expressed that he is extremely confident and in the best shape of his life after gaining a few pounds of muscle.
When asked to comment about King Mo's tendency to trash-talk, Mousasi said that the barbs simply give him more incentive to train and that he will remain professional both prior to and during the fight. Lawal is "just another fight".
Mousasi doesn't believe that Mo's wrestling will be a difference-maker as he fights very well from his back. He doesn't think Mo can hurt him because he has a great chin and has never been ground and pounded. He says the fight will not be going to decision.
Mousasi won't allow pending contract issues to interfere with his preparation. When pressed on exactly what these "issues" are, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker declines to elaborate, but says that he looks forward to Mousasi competing under the Strikeforce banner for years to come.
Mousasi says that if all goes well at 205 he would like to move up to heavyweight in two years.
"King" Mo Lawal
Lawal is asked about his lack of experience heading into this fight. He replies that the number of fights don't matter, that you gain experience by winning big fights like this one. He realizes that he's not as well known as his opponent, but expects that will change April 17.
When asked to comment on his opponent's skills, he suggests that Mousasi's greatest weapon is his brain, and declares that Mousasi "is a smart fighter." Mo is aware that Mousasi's greatest strength is his stand-up, but believes he has the knockout power to compete with Gegard in that department.
Lawal makes numerous cryptic comments about his new "Cuban style" and states that he admires Cuban competitors, especially in the sports of boxing and wrestling. When asked to explain this fighting style he refuses, but does inform us that "it's pretty damn raw". He insists that everyone will understand on the 17th. I'm not so sure.
Asked what it's like training at his star-studded Cali gym, he drawls "we killers and we hungry".
Lawal is asked about the apparent bad blood between himself and Mousasi. He says that Mousasi is "cool" and the comments were "all for fun". He goes on to state that fighting in general is something he finds "fun", and that he hated school and reading.
When asked whether he's considered competing in the DREAM LHW tournament, Mo responds "not really". He says he's heard the promotion doesn't pay on time.
King Mo finishes up the call by mocking Mousasi with a Kermit the Frog impression that he insists sounds just like his opponent. Laughter ensues. Mo invites Mousasi to make fun of his voice in response, but Mousasi politely refuses. A pretty good-natured exchange considering the recent history between these two.
It was a less heated conference call than may have been expected, but informative nontheless. Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions on Strikeforce: 'Nashville' in the comments section below. And remember that MMAmania.com will be the spot for the latest news and event-related highlights before, during and after the event.