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Bring on the Next Challenge: Welterweight Roger Bowling Prepares for Strikeforce Battle with Brandon Saling
Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey takes place this Saturday, March 3, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. In one of the fights airing on Showtime Extreme, Cincinnati welterweight Roger Bowling (10-2) will face fellow Ohioan Brandon Saling (8-5) in a match that both men took on short rest. I caught up with Bowling as he prepared for the fight, and this is what he had to say:
You took this fight on short rest. How are you feeling? How's the weight cut going?
Bowling: I feel good for a short camp, it's as good as I can feel on short notice. I took the fight last Sunday (Feb. 19). I just keep dieting. Right now I'm waking up at 182. By Thursday I'll be at 180, and I'll cut the final 10 pounds over the last two days. I'll eat nothing but lean ground beef and grapefruit three to four times a day depending on how I feel.
What are you doing differently for a fight you took on short notice in comparison to a fight with a normal camp?
Bowling: I'm just not overdoing it. With a long camp you have more time to get ready, so you want to peak out right. I've been training already. I just don't want to be sore or over-trained going into the fight.
Is there any specific part of your game that you've been working on since your December victory over Jerron Peoples?
Bowling: I haven't stopped training. I've just been helping everybody else get ready. So I've been working wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing, etc.
What do you know about your opponent, Brandon Saling?
Bowling: Not a lot really. I haven't looked at him much really. I know he's a brawler and kinda raw.
What kind of problems, if any, will Saling present this weekend?
Bowling: He just seems like he's a big puncher. You don't want to get caught up in a brawl. You don't want to get caught up in your emotions and brawl with him because then it's anybody's game.
How do you expect the fight to go on Saturday? Where do you want to take it?
Bowling: Wherever it goes. I can beat him anywhere. It just depends on how the fight goes, and how I feel that night.
How important is it for you to fight in front of your home crowd on Saturday?
Bowling: It's awesome. It's one of the main reasons I took the fight on short notice. I love fighting here in front of my friends and family.
You have 12 professional fights under your belt. How have you evolved as a mixed martial artist since you began competing?
Bowling: I've gotten a lot smarter about training. I'm more willing to take care of my body so that way I can be around longer and not be as prone to injuries. I've had a lot of broken hands. The second time I fought Bobby (Voelker), I had a broken hand the entire camp, and I took the fight out of pure stubbornness because I didn't want to turn it down. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have depended on myself to get healthy.
How is your overall health? How much longer do you hope to compete in MMA?
Bowling: Really good. My good friend, Bryce, owns I-Supplements. He keeps me healthy, keeps me eating my greens and not letting me eat the bad stuff. He makes sure I'm taking all the right supplements. I want to compete as long as I can, as long as my body will let me.
You recently finished the first trilogy in Strikeforce history. How has the trilogy with Bobby Voelker changed you as a fighter? What would you have done differently in those fights?
Bowling: The only thing I would have done differently is not take the second fight. All in all it was really good for me. I think it helped me evolve as a fighter. You can't always go in there and knock everybody out. It helped me learn to game plan more. I knew I was quicker than him, so I should have been in and out more and kept picking him apart like I did in the first round. So now I have a game plan in place. If this don't work then go to that. If that don't work, then you go to the last resort.
If you win this fight, then what next next? What are your specific goals?
Bowling: Just keep winning fights, keep learning and stay as healthy as I can. I love this sport and I want to compete as long as I can.
I noticed a few people on your Facebook page asking about the UFC. Do you believe that will happen in the near future?
Bowling: I'm happy with Strikeforce, so wherever they want me to be, whether its UFC or Strikeforce, it's still the top of the food chain.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Bowling: I want to thank my good friend Bryce with I-Supplements, Traumma Combat, Intimidation Clothing, Casey with Training Mask, Jerry with Annihilation Productions, and everybody at VisionMMA in Cincinnati. Special thanks to my Muay Thai coach Mark Lemen and my wrestling coach Daniel Straus, my brother T.J. Ball, and my management team Paradigm.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.
Source: Personal Interview
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