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Bobby Voelker didn't hesitate to take short-notice fight with Robbie Lawler


SEATTLE -- There aren't a whole lot of fighters who would step up and take a fight with "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler on short notice.

But Bobby Voelker isn't among those. When, less than two weeks ago, he was offered a chance to fill in for an injured Siyar Bahadurzada and meet the veteran welterweight on the UFC on FOX 8 main card, Voelker was ready.

As the Kansas City-based fighter explained to reporters at Thursday's media day at the Westin hotel, he had already begun training camp for a planned Aug. 28 bout, which facilitated his decision.

"I've already been training for a fight, for the Aug. 28 fight I was supposed to fight a guy named James Head, so I've been training for a couple weeks for that pretty good,' Voelker said. "Then I got the call, you know, and they asked me about it. I said let me run it by my manager and trainer. We all discussed it and said it was a good idea and thought it was a great opportunity. I thought it would be another two weeks of hard training and then I'd be ready for it."

Still, Voelker knows that such a short-notice bout has its dangers.

"It was, there's always some concerns, but it was pretty overwhelming that we had to take this fight," Voelker said. "Two weeks isn't long enough training camp for anybody, especially someone of Robbie Lawler's caliber. But I was already somewhat ready, so we focused the last two weeks straight on Robbie, what he's going to do and what I can do."

For his part, Lawler has been through not one, but two opponent changes heading into Saturday's event at Key Arena. Lawler was originally slated to meet former Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine, who was replaced by Bahadurzada, before Voelker stepped up.

But Lawler's been around the game long enough that he's not about to be fazed by such a turn of events.

"The thing is, mentally, I'm not getting ready for another [opponent]," Lawler said. "My coaches, they're the ones who are looking at the one I'm fighting. They try to mimic who I'm training. I just show up. Mentally, I'm just fighting a guy in the gym is how I look at it, and they just worry about it. I don't watch fights until about two weeks out anyway, so it didn't really bother me."

At its simplest, the Lawler-Voelker fight appears to be a potential slugfest. Lawler, of course, has two of the heaviest hands in the welterweight division. Voelker likes to get into slugfests as well, as anyone who saw his underrated Strikeforce trilogy with Roger Bowling can attest.

But Voelker knows he has to watch out for more than just Lawler's big bombs.

"He's extremely athletic, extremely skilled, but we focus on stuff he doesn't [often] do," said Voelker. "He's a great wrestler. He might change his mind and decide to start using it. But specifically, those hands, that speed, that power he has, you've got to be ready for that, or else he's going to eat you up."

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