On Friday night at Bellator 134, the preliminary card on Spike.com will have a heavyweight bout between two fighters that are known for finishing fights quickly and violently as Raphael Butler meets Josh Diekmann.
Butler (8-1) is a former professional boxer that made the transition to mixed martial arts in 2010 and opened his mixed martial arts career with eight straight victories and seven of those wins came in the first round.
His Bellator debut came in the Summer of 2013 and he scored three straight victories in under two and a half minutes. Those three wins came in 2013 and 2014 was not a kind year for the fighter that trains at Alliance MMA in San Diego.
Following a majority draw to Nick Rossborough, which Butler was deducted a point in the fight, he lost his first mixed martial arts bout against Javy Ayala by submission at Bellator 125. Butler recently told The MMA Report that he has to forget about what happened last year and worry about what will happen this year.
“With what happened last year, you just have to get past it,” Butler said. “You can not dwell on stuff like that. It was not my year last year and I am in the gym making sure it does not happen this year.”
How will Butler make sure what happened last year will not carry over into 2015? For Butler, it’s about being mentally focused on carrying over the work he does in the gym into the cage on fight night.
“Just making sure I stay mentally focused. The reason the last two fights happened the way it happened was because I was over confident. For instance, in my last fight with Javy. I was not getting taken down at all in the gym so I was over confident in that and I forgot the reason I was not being taken down was because in the gym I was doing everything properly. I am just making sure that I everything and keep that same mind set in the fight.”
On Friday night, he will look for his first win since November of 2013 when he faces Diekmann. When it comes to scouting his opponent this week, Butler knows that he is facing a fighter that has one mission, to win by knockout.
“Josh Diekmann is a fighter that really nobody likes to fight,” Butler explained. “He is there to actually fight and throw bombs. He closes his eyes, swings for the fences, and hope he hits you. Those guys are more difficult to fight than a conventional fighter that has a gameplan. Those type of guys, it’s hard to find a rhythm try to pick them off their rhythm. When fighting Josh Diekmann, I have to make sure to be alert at all things because he has shown in previous fights that dude has some pop. That is the thing about heavyweights, we all can punch.”
Both Butler and Diekmann have combined for 21 career victories in the first round and Butler message to the fans that plan to watch this fight is essentially, don’t blink.
“Me and him both have kind of records that are kind of similar,” Butler said. “Most of our fights have ended in the first round and if this fight makes it to the second round, I will be surprised.”