EXCLUSIVE | (PART 2) Manny ‘The Mean Bean’ Rodriguez Discusses Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels & Bellator 97
By JAKE CHASTAIN
| This week on Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio our boys invited Alliance MMA coach, Bellator commentator, and former King of the Cage heavyweight champ & mixed martial artist Manny Rodriguez onto the show. During his segment on the show Rodriguez touched on several topics ranging from Bellator’s upcoming summer shows, his coaching role at Alliance MMA, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler’s upcoming title fight being rescheduled, and how Chandler is still going to peak for the fight after getting a new opponent and having the fight pushed back a month. Here are some of the highlights from that interview this past Sunday on BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio:
Rodriguez gave his thoughts on the newly announced Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels fight and how the fight being pushed back to Bellator 97 in July rather than Chandler’s original fight scheduled with Jansen at Bellator 96 in June will affect his performance/training:
“I felt really bad for Mike, I mean, If you’ve been at Alliance you know how hard we push the guys and how hard Eric sets these camps up to be. So by the time they get into the fight they’ve seen just about everything they can see, good and bad, and Mike was really close to being at the end, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel and then that light got pushed back. That’s really hard for a guy. But Mike’s a trooper. He’s one of those guys, he’s a grinder anyway. He’s in the gym when he doesn’t have a fight. He’s always looking to get better. As far as the opponents go, I think Dave hits harder, I mean Rickels hits harder than Jansen but I think that he’s slower. Jansen doesn’t kick much but he’s got better wrestling than Dave [Rickels]. And then Dave [Rickels] is pretty dangerous with submission off his back, and, or Rickels is dangerous with submissions from his back but [Dave] Jansen is a neck-hunter. He’s really good at attacking the neck. Overall I don’t think Mike’s game plane changes. He’s just fast and he hits hard and he pushes a crazy pace.”
How does training change for Chandler now that the fight is pushed back a month:
“It’s actually kind of simple. You want to give him enough rest to where he can get over the anger and just the pain of training camp and having the fight moved back. So a couple days, a week off to kind of let your body heal, your mind rest because you’ve been focused on a guy and on a date for so long and then get back in there and finish it out. You don’t want to lose everything that you’ve gained so the goal is to pull back a little bit, get the training sessions going, get his mind back into it and into a new guy and then finish out camp. You know, he has a solid, another month to peak so he’ll be ready.”
Thoughts on the Bellator 97 card now that Chandler vs. Rickels was added:
“I’m obviously always interested to see how Mike does. Mike is an animal and he has not reached a third of his potential yet. The guy is going to be a monster and really hard to beat and I think he’s going to be holding the belt for a long time. Ben Askren is a guy that, I’ve been saying it for a little bit, for his last couple of fights, people say they don’t see improvement but I do. I think his last fight kind of proved it. He is very dangerous and now he’s really comfortable with his ground game and you’re going to see him hit a lot harder. He’s one of those guys that, people say he hasn’t taken a shot and that he can be slept, but Koreshkov, I don’t think, I think even if he lands a clean shot he’s still gonna get taken down and he’s still gonna get pounded out and I just don’t see how he can win.
And then Ben, Ben Saunders, man, I mean, he’s my boy. I like Lima but Ben is just a cool cat and he’s cool to hang out with and he’s really technical and I think he’s hungry for this fight so I think he’s going to be a little bit sharper. I think toward the end of that tournament when they were in the finals together, uh, it’s really hard to stay focused for that long, you know? You’re fighting three opponents in three months and you’re just beat up and you’re training for a new opponent all the time. I think this time you’re going to see the best of both of them and, uh, I think Ben is overall technically better and I’m hoping that he can pull it out.”
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