Image courtesy of Invicta FC
The time is rapidly winding down, and Invicta FC's sophomore effort is just hours away. Will the fledgling promotion be able to match, or even top their debut outing? I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes, especially with Shannon Knapp at the helm. They're bringing us a solid card, and per their previous generosity, we're once again getting the entire card for free, via an HD stream from the Invicta website. The main event features former Olympian, Sara McMann and the super tough, very talented Shayna Baszler. In a quick TapouT Radio interview, we caught up with Shayna to get her final thoughts leading into the fight.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: It's finally coming down to the wire and you'll be back in the cage again after a pretty long layoff. How are you feeling?
Shayna Baszler: I feel great. I've said it this entire time, with no lines or jokes, this is the best fight camp I've had. I'm excited. I'm ready to go.
Interviewer: The first Invicta card was a big success, and had a highly touted main event featuring Marloes Coenen. The fight ended up being a grinder, so are you sort of feeling pressure to outdo that fight?
Shayna Baszler: Well, that all kind of plays to me. The crowd is going to be expecting a certain level of awesomeness just because the first show was great. On top of that, generally, the things I do are awesome, so if she is doing things that are borifying the audience to death, then I think they're going to let everyone know, and that could end up being in m y favor. If she does end up opening up on me, that's good for me.
She likes to grind opponents out. That's her game. I don't think she's going to be submitting me, and I don't think she's knocking anybody out. Her game is to grind you out and just wear on you. All I need is one of my things to work one time. The only way I don't have a chance is if I stop shooting. I'm going to be doing everything I can to finish that fight.
Hopefully, the fact that people have been jawing at her because that is what she does, makes her want to open up more on me. I don't feel any added pressure. I just know that when I fight, everyone knows that I'm exciting. There's not anyone in the fight world that would say I don't do fun and exciting stuff. I know my bag of tools is awesome, so as long as I play game, the world shall be entertained, never fear.
Interviewer: Sara has been saying in interviews that she'll be the one to steal the show in this fight. What do you have to say on that, and does it make a difference that you're the underdog?
Shayna Baszler: I guess I fired some people up in here camp when I said that it was going to be on me to make the fight exciting, but I really do think it will be on me to make this fight entertaining. The fact that I'm the underdog doesn't bother me, but I think the only reason I'm the underdog is just because she's been more relevant this past year than I have.
If you look at this, her game has to work consistently for 15 minutes straight in order for her to win. I just need to hit mine once, and I win. This is my fight to win. If she opens up and tries to finish me, I will finish her. She knows it. There's two ways this is going to end. I'm going to finish her, or she's going to fall asleep on top of me, and make everyone else in the arena fall asleep.
Interviewer: Do you think she's saying stuff like that just to sell the fight, or do you think she's actually going to change her game?
Shayna Baszler: She's still very green in MMA, but she's a very experienced combat athlete. I have a high amount of respect for her, and I think she's going to have a very successful career in MMA, but this isn't wrestling. The culture is different in MMA. The fight doesn't end when you pin someone on their back. Wrestling would be boring if you had to pin someone for three minutes, but that's not how it works. You only have to touch their shoulders to the mat, and that's the end, so even wrestling cut out that boring part. I agree that this fight is going to steal the show, but it's going to be because I will be forcing the action.
Interviewer: Where do you think she'll have an advantage over you, if any?
Shayna Baszler: Every scenario puts me at an advantage. There's nowhere that I don't have an advantage. On top, on bottom, standing, it's all me. This is my fight. I don't care what her gameplan is, because I have an answer for everything. It doesn't matter, because I have all the answers.
You can follow Shayna via her Twitter, @QOSBaszler