Lyle Beerbohm thinks he can shut down Shinya Aoki’s ground game

Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm (left) takes on Shinya "Fancy Spats" Aoki this Saturday LIVE on Showtime. Photo credit: MMA Mania

Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm (15-1) has an immense task set before him this weekend when he steps in the cage with top five-ranked lightweight Shinya Aoki (26-5, 1 NC).

Could you imagine if Aoki were allowed to wear his colorful spats and Beerbohm fought in his “fancy pants“? It would probably go down as the most colorful fight in MMA history.

Interestingly enough, ProMMAnow.com‘s own late great “Fast” Eddie Constantine hypothesized to Beerbohm in Sept. 2009 a match-up between he and Aoki with the winner gaining the rights to the other’s colorful fight attire.

This is a very big fight for Beerbohm. A win over Aoki would make a huge statement and put him in the top-10. Beerbohm has beaten credible competition in his career, guys like Duane Ludwig and Vitor Ribeiro, but Aoki is lightweight royalty.

On the other hand, a loss for Aoki would not be good. The loss to Gilbert Melendez did not hurt him much. Melendez is a veteran and the Strikeforce champion, whereas Beerbohm is an up-and-comer, a rising star.

The odds on the fight are actually quite close. LinesMaker has Aoki -200 and Beerbohm +160.

If Aoki wins the fight, it will be on the ground. Despite that, Beerbohm is not worried about going to the mat and believes his submission defense will carry him through. He told ProMMAnow.com:

“I think my submission defense is good enough to where I can shut down great submission artists and go from there. So I learned a lot off of the Ribeiro fight, and Rafaello Oliveira…he’s a black belt and really good also. … I’m not afraid to go to the ground with him [Aoki] at all. Anybody that’s scared of somebody’s game, they’ve already lost the fight. I’ve got to be real careful though, that’s for sure.”

Beerbohm clearly has the striking advantage in this fight, even if he is hesitant to admit it:

“I don’t know about an advantage; I think he’s pretty good on the feet, he’s OK. He doesn’t get hit a lot, he shoots in … you’ve got to fight Aoki really smart. If you just think you can come in and stand with him … you can’t just go in there and chuck punches at him or he’s going to take you down.”

Will Beerbohm be able to seize this opportunity and make it a defining moment in his career or will Aoki succeed in doing what he does best?

Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley” takes place this Saturday, April 9, at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif., and will air LIVE on Showtime. Be sure to check out ProMMAnow.com’s entire interview with Lyle Beerbohm to hear more of his thoughts on fighting Aoki and bouncing back from the first loss of his career.