Bobby Lashley puts Cook to sleep at “MFC 21: Hard Knocks”

When PRO MMA ( spoke to Bobby Lashley last month he explained he was in no rush to get into the UFC or one of the big shows. He did not want to jump in there right away and have everyone questioning his legitimacy. Rather, he wanted to take his time and get some experience under his belt in the smaller shows. Frankly, that is a wise plan.

Last night former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley fought Mike Cook at Maximum Fighting Championship’s “MFC 21: Hard Knocks” at the River Cree Hotel and Casino just outside Alberta, Canada. Cook, a 234-pound heavyweight, has been fighting professionally since 2006 and came into the fight with a 6-3 record. Lashley, weighing in at 249-pounds, came into the fight at 2-0.

Mike Cook is not a top ten heavyweight by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, he is far from a scrub. He has fought in such organizations as Palace Fighting Championships, EliteXC, and Strikeforce. He was a decent well-rounded opponent that presented a legitimate threat to Lashley and the match would give Lashley some much-needed ring time.

Mike Cook showed up to the MFC 21 weigh-ins and to the fight wearing a Lucha Libre style pro wrestling mask. This was not something Cook was in the custom of doing. Most would agree, including Lashley, Cook was wearing the mask to poke fun at Lashley’s pro wrestling career. However, the joke was on Cook.

Just twenty-four short seconds into the fight and before he could throw a single blow, Mike Cook was unconscious. The two fighters came out and circled each other briefly. Lashley sprung in first and connected with a right hand to the face. Then clinching, Lashley grabbed Cook’s neck guillotine style and forced him down to the canvas face first with both fighters’ legs outstretched in opposite directions.

Lashley squeezed and clamped tight the choke. Cook’s legs and body began to shake violently. The referee, Big John McCarthy, realized at this point Cook was unconscious. He pulled Lashley off, and rolled Cook over to his back for air. In the post-fight interview, Lashley commented on the submission, “I just yanked him down and got the vice grip on him and squeezed, and felt him go out.”

Compu-Strike’s statistics told the whole story: 1 strike attempted, 1 strike landed – 1 takedown attempted, 1 takedown landed – 1 submission attempted, 1 submission landed. Clearly, Lashley is becoming a well-rounded fighter as he has now finished one fight via TKO, one by decision, and now one by submission.

A word of advice for future Lashley opponents: it is probably not in your best interest to tease the guy about his former profession, “I’m here for business. Everybody comes out here and tries to make fun of the wrestling thing. I’m real. I’m coming out here to fight. They don’t want to fight me, they can play around. If they play around, I’m going to knock them out or choke them out and that’s what I did today, choked him out, made him pay. Now he can go put back on the mask and have fun with himself.”

Lashley will not have the weight advantage in his next fight as he takes on 350-pound big Bob Sapp on Saturday June 27th at “Ultimate Chaos” in Biloxi, Mississippi. Sapp is a professional kickboxer as well as a PRIDE and K-1 veteran with an MMA record of 10-3-1. Out of his 14 professional MMA fights only two have gone past the first round.

When we asked Lashley about his game plan for  Sapp, he said, “A lot of people have the strategy of weathering the storm for about two minutes and then fighting him. I don’t think I’m going to do that, I think I’m gonna go head up with him. He likes to brawl and he only has maybe a round in him, possibly maybe two rounds in him, so I’m just gonna go and take it to him those two rounds that he has and fight and just go to town. I mean, I’ve been working pretty hard, I feel pretty comfortable with what I’m doing so let’s go head up.”

Here are the complete results for “MFC 21: Hard Knocks” which took place on May 15, 2009.

By:  Jack Bratcher

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