Soszynski ready for Bonnar rematch

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:33 PM ET

LAS VEGAS - Controversy has a way of overshadowing almost any performance.

For light-heavyweight fighter Krzysztof (The Polish Experiment) Soszynski, his win over Stephan (The American Psycho) Bonnar at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia is remembered for the accidental head-butt that opened a bout-ending cut on Bonnar's (11-7) forehead in the third round.

Despite arguably winning the match before the ringside doctor called it off, Soszynski (21-9-1) has to prove himself against Bonnar again at UFC 116 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday.

However, if you expected a lack of excitement from the Winnipeg native leading up to the rematch, you were dead wrong.

"UFC 116 -- the biggest pay-per-view of the year," Soszynski said with a smile. "(I'm on the) main card fighting Stephan Bonnar again, who's a legend. He's been around for a long time. He's basically one of the pioneers of the sport because of his fight with Forrest Griffin.

"How's there no motivation? There's motivation everywhere. Plus, it's a chance for another W on my record. To go from 4-1 to 5-1 (in the UFC) sounds pretty nice."

Following their first encounter, Bonnar appealed the decision to the Combat Sports Authority of New South Wales, which was tasked with overseeing UFC 110. However, the Authority refused to overturn the result.

Soszynski said he sympathized with Bonnar and wouldn't have protested a new outcome.

"I would have been fine with any ruling," Soszynski said. "I actually kind of felt bad because it was an accidental head-butt. But we were in the third round and if it had gone to the judges' score cards -- just like they do in boxing after the fourth round, which I think should happen after the second (in MMA)-- from what I've heard, I was winning the fight.

"It is what it is, but we get to do it again now."

Bonnar was disappointed his appeal fell flat, but said the first bout was entertaining for the fans and he looks forward to the rematch.

"We both took some punches -- it was a good fight," Bonnar said. "You don't even have to see the fight to know it was a good fight. You could just look at pictures of our faces after the fight and be like, 'Hey, that must have been a good fight.' He was busted up, I was busted up.

"I love to stand and bang, but if I see an opportunity to put him down, then I have confidence in my ground game. At the same time though, if the takedown isn't there, I'm not going to waste my energy fighting for one. If his punches leave him out of position, I'm going to take the takedown."

Since the two are now familiar with each other's style, Soszynski said putting together a new game plan was the toughest part of his training camp.

"It was more of a mental camp for this fight, rather than a physical one," Soszynski began. "The physical part I know -- I know where I have to be in order to beat him. I know what shape I have to be in. That was the easy part.

"It's now, 'Is he going to change? Is he going to do anything different in this fight? Should I change? Should I do anything different in this fight?' and that's what we worked on. If he changes to more of a ground guy and tries to take me down, I worked really hard with my wrestling."

Despite working with top grapplers like Mark (The Philippine Wrecking Machine) Munoz, Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio (Minotoro) Nogueira, Muhammed (King Mo) Lawal, Jason (Mayhem) Miller and Dan (Hendo) Henderson, Soszynski said his goal is to keep the fight standing.

"I know how good (Bonnar's ground game) is," Soszynski said. "Why do you think I want to keep it standing? Why do you think I want to use my wrestling to end up on top if the fight goes on the ground? I don't want to be on the bottom with him. And if I do get on the bottom, I have to get up."

Bonnar, who has won seven fights via submission, admitted he isn't concerned about Soszynski's grappling.

"I'm not too worried that he's going to submit me," Bonnar said. "I've trained my jiu jitsu diligently and my submission defence. Actually, I've really trained my wrestling and takedown defence for this one, too. So it's not going to be easy getting me down."

The sole Canadian fighter on the card, Soszynski looks forward to having all of Canada watch him Saturday night.

"I'm very excited," Soszynski said. "I'm the only Canadian on the card. So I've got the whole country watching me. It's a pay-per-view main card spot, so there's a lot of pressure, but I'm used to it now. It's been a lot of fun and I want to thank everyone for the support in Canada."


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