Sunday, November 04, 2007

Return of the Punisher

Riding an eight fight win-streak going into the Rashad Evans fight, September of last ’06, Jason Lambert looked to have the opportunity to earn a few fans with a win over another Ultimate Fighter alum. The athletic Rob MacDonald being the first, succumbing in just a couple minutes into the first round. Obviously things have a way of working out a little different than what you hope. Rashad would eventually get mount and pound out the Punisher.

That win-streak, with fighters like IFL standout Matt Horwich, MacDonald, Brandon Lee Hinkle, thunder-handed Terry Martin and journeymen Travis Wiuff and Marvin Eastman on it, counted for very little after the loss. It was time to regroup. Lambert would have to make it a hasty regrouping because it was not too long before the UFC called with another match-up. It wasn’t a ‘gimme’ to help Lambert get on track though, not at all. How about “Babalu” Sobral after, as if that wouldn’t be tough enough, losing to Chuck Liddell and, presumably, wanting to get that taste out of his mouth. Many guys would have shied away at this prospect but we’re talking about a guy who fights at 205lbs but probably could make middleweight and has fought heavyweights before, including UFC heavyweights like “Cabbage” Correira and Tim Sylvia. Lambert went for it.

The first round was a study in technique and survival as Babalu came at him hard and had his back for a while and was close to the dreaded rear naked choke. The Punisher though fought through it all and ended the round on top of the Brazilian courtesy of a right hand that probably left an impression on the jawbone of Sobral. Lambert would end the fight in the second round scoring the upset.

So what do you follow that up with? Some time off. Babalu was Jason Lambert’s fifth fight in a year’s span and rather than strike while the iron is hot he decided it might be best to regroup and come back fresh. And what sight to come back to, the light-heavyweight division is a wasteland of upset fighters looking to get back on track and a victim to be the first step on that road.

I recently had the opportunity to have a quick Q & A session with Jason and this is what we spoke about:

Why so long since your last fight?
I fought 5 times from March to March. So my trainer wanted me to take a
little time off. When I wanted to get back in there in July the fight
cards were already booked. So they said Sept. and then Gouveia got

What have you been doing with the time off?
I've been training the whole time, never stopped. It's been positive because I'm
really hungry to get back in there.

A lot of guys are calling opponents out such as Tim Sylvia calling out Kongo, is there anyone you want to call out?I just want to get back in there and compete.

Any idea who your next fight might be?
They want me to fight on the London show in Jan. No bout agreement yet

You were in law enforcement before, tell me about that.
I was an instructor at the academy. I wasn't a sworn deputy. I liked
that job a lot because I taught firearms too. I miss shooting at the
range all the time.

Are there any fighters that you enjoy watching more than others?
I like watching Manny Rodriguez fight. He is the KOTC HW Champ.

Any thought about dropping down to 185lbs, is that a possibility? Or even moving up?
I'm not doing bad at light-heavyweight, so I'm not going anywhere. Especially not back
to heavyweight.

Do you think you could do better against Tim Sylvia now?
I lost to him in a tournament. We are both different fighters now but I
would fight him again. I'll fight anybody.

What do you think about the demise of Pride and the Fedor Emelianenko situation? Where does he rank?
The Pride thing is just business. Fedor is a very talented guy. I would
like to fight him because I feel I match up well against him.

With a lot of the highly ranked LHW’s losing lately you must be chomping at the bit to get back in there. Who of them do you think you would be best suited to fighting, if you had your pick?
Yeah, I can't wait to get back in there. I would love to fight Wanderlei.

As you can see Lambert is a fighter who will, and in some cases already has, fight anyone. I for one am looking forward to the return of the Punisher and with the landscape of the 205lbers being what it is, truly anything could happen. Looking at the UFC’s current roster LHW’s there’s a few top guys looking for dance partners. Could we see Lambert against Tito, Forrest or Jardine in the near future?

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