MMAmania's Brian Hemminger speaks with victorious Bellator 76 featherweight Mike Richman about his fantastic knockout, his upcoming opponent Shahbulat Shamhalaev and how his quick win affects his confidence level for this tournament in this exclusive interview.
Mike Richman is on a roll.
This past Friday night (Oct. 12, 2012), The Minnesota Martial Arts Academy fighter stepped into the cage against a solid wrestler in Jeremy Spoon for the opening round of the Bellator season seven featherweight tournament quarterfinals at Bellator 76 in Windsor, Ontario, and the result was even more impressive.
While his incredible knockout of Horodecki took 1:23, he lopped off a full minute from that time in putting away Spoon with a vicious head kick.
Richman was a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio earlier today where he talked to me about his fantastic knockout, his upcoming opponent Shahbulat Shamhalaev and how his quick win affects his confidence level for this tournament in this exclusive interview.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): At this point, do you just wish they'd hold every round of this tournament in Windsor? You're magical there.
Mike Richman: Yeah, I don't know what it is but I definitely feel really comfortable. It was really comfortable for me to go back to Caesar's Windsor. The environment there, the routine, everything was the same and then obviously the outcome was just as spectacular. Yeah, it felt really good to do that there in front of those fans.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You were in there against a gritty and tough wrestler for this past bout. Did you in your wildest dreams expect to be finishing the fight so quickly?
Mike Richman: I always have visions of going in there and knocking someone out quickly but that's not expected to be the reality. I don't think anyone ever really expects to go out there and finish someone in 23 seconds. You always hope for it so when it happens it's kind of like hitting a home run. You're kind of surprised, ecstatic, you played well, set up the kick and it was a good finish. I was very happy with the outcome.
Mike Richman: I know! Eddie Alvarez is always stealing the thunder. Always stealing it!
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk me through the knockout? I know it was only 23 seconds but did you just see an opening for it or was it just a spur-of-the-moment type of thing?
Mike Richman: Yeah, I'd like to think I've got fairly fast hands and as I was throwing my jabs and my crosses, both from my jab and my cross he was leaning to the same side. He was slipping to the same side every time and I kind of noticed that and that he had his hand down a little bit. Right before I threw the kick, it was a little bit of delay but I had a slight motion from my hands and my shoulder and he was starting to lean and that's when I fired off the kick right away. At that point you just fire it out and hope for a good result.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like you're keeping these featherweights guessing now since you won your last fight with your hands and this past one with your feet?
Mike Richman: I think people are on notice from my last performance and they're definitely more aware now. I think Jeremy Spoon was aware. I thought he was gonna shoot in earlier but I guess I didn't give him too much time (laughs) but I knew he was a scrappy dude. He was a really good wrestler but he rarely shoots. He just wants to scrap. Short answer, yeah. I think I'll be putting a lot of them on notice. I think Shahbulat who I'm fighting next, maybe he'll shoot, maybe he won't. He's a hard puncher, throws big looping punches and I think it's going to be an exciting fight for the fans. I'm excited to go out there and fight a guy like him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): As you mentioned, they already announced you'll be fighting the Russian Shahbulat Shamhalaev next. What did you think of his performance? He survived a couple submission attempts early and then unleashed some of the most brutal ground and pound I've seen in a while.
Mike Richman: Yeah, he definitely looked like he brought some heavy punches especially in ground and pound, bringing it down with a lot of force and he overwhelmed Cody. In terms of the stand-up, there wasn't as much in the stand-up but I'll have to watch it again. From what I remember, he caught Cody's ankle and they went down and he stayed out of the rubber guard for a bit and I remember some ground and pound and it was over. I didn't take too much out of it other than it definitely looks like he hits hard. I hit hard too and we're gonna see who goes down.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, even though he he showcased the ground and pound, he's more of the kickboxing type. This fight has potential to be a really fun stand-up war.
Mike Richman: I can already imagine. I've already visualized the fight a bunch of times and it's definitely gonna be exciting.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How much of a help do you think it was that you went out there and finished your fight in 23 seconds knowing that you'll likely have to fight in another month?
Mike Richman: It for sure definitely helps the recovery time. You can get back in the gym and go 100 percent instead of healing aches and pains in the muscles. You can get right back to training and maintain where you were at after resting a couple days. It definitely helps to get in and get out especially in the early rounds. I was back in the gym by Monday doing my thing getting back at it. My teammates were really excited. My coach Greg Nelson was really excited. It was a good string of victories for the academy with myself and Volkmann getting the big wins.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How did getting such a quick win affect your confidence for this tournament?
Mike Richman: It definitely affected it. It definitely makes me more confident that I can finish everybody. I'm not going to take anybody lightly, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to think I can go out there and knock anybody out in 20 seconds.They're all dangerous with different strengths but I'll take it one fight at a time. I'm in the hurt business and my mindset is to go out there and knock Shamhalaev out. I'll be taking it one fight at a time.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeUSMCRichman.
Did you catch Richman's performance on Friday night? If so, how do you like his odds to win this whole thing?