(courtesy Josh Hedges/Zuffa)
Krzysztof Soszynski could not beat Brandon Vera, so he joined him in order to get ready for UFC 110.
Soszynski takes on light-heavyweight Stephan Bonner on Saturday in Australia, after preparing with Vera and the Alliance team in Southern California.
“The Polish Experiment” was an injury replacement for Matt Hamill in his bout against Vera and suffered his first UFC loss in a unanimous decision. After the Aug. 29 defeat at UFC 102, Soszynski had surgery to clean out 11 bone chips in his elbow. Then he joined up with Vera and the Alliance team in Chula Vista, Calif. for the final nine weeks of a 14-week training camp.
Partnering with another former IFLer in Lew Polley, Soszynski has taken his game to a new level. The former heavyweight’s 18-9-1 career mark has been pushed by his current 6-1 run, which includes wins in his first three official UFC fights. He is a much better fighter today than when he was a semifinalist in TUF 8.
“Lew and I have been going back and forth there every day,” Soszynski said of the Alliance gym. “I’ve had a great camp, great chemistry with the training partners, great coaching, I’m 100 percent ready. I’m very happy I had a full camp for this one because it’s going to be a tough fight.”
Bonnar never gives up an easy fight. Although his UFC record is a pedestrian 5-5, he has never been finished. All of his career losses have come to fighters who have held a UFC championship belt, with the exception of rising superstar Jon Jones.
There was Bonnar’s legendary fight to culminate the first Ultimate Fighter and the subsequent rematch with Forrest Griffin, plus defeats to Rashad Evans and Mark Coleman. Addionally, Bonnar fell to current UFC light-heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida in 2003 due to a doctor’s stoppage.
“He’s a very durable, very aggressive and well-round fighter,” said Soszynski, “durable being the key.
“I know this is going to be a war. He’s going to come out very aggressive. He’s lost two fights in a row and needs a win. I know he’s going to do everything in his power to get a win. I’m sure he had a great training camp for this fight and I’m not only going to have to be physically ready, but also mentally ready.”
The mental part of the game will be a test for Soszynski, whose loss to Vera marked the first time since Aug. 2, 2007 that he had tasted defeat. That was a 13-second knockout to Ben Rothwell in an IFL heavyweight bout.
“Honestly, losing sucks,” Soszynski said. “Anytime you lose, it’s always a bad experience. You don’t want to do it again. It’s part of the sport. As long as I put in 100 percent effort in a fight, if I lose, it’s because I lost to a better man, and Brandon Vera was the better man that night.
“I took a lot of good things from that fight. I just moved on and had a great training camp. I’m not one of those guys who mentally dwells on his losses, I move on forward and look toward the future. I’m ready for this fight.”
Soszynski says the fight is going to be won in the clinch position. If he can defend Bonnar’s takedowns, Soszynski’s plan is to get Bonnar against the cage and take him down.
“That’s definitely the game plan,” he said. “We want to get in the trenches, get into the clinch and beat him up in there, dirty box with him, try to wear him out and then finish him off on the ground if I get a chance to.”
Now that he’s joined ’em, count on Soszynski getting that chance.