Thursday, March 29, 2007

Trigg has something cooking for Lawler fight

By Michael Tsai

Some mixed martial arts fighters excel in brutal stand-up exchanges, others in the rough-and-tumble art of ground and pound, but few boast as arsenal as eclectic as Icon middleweight Frank Trigg.

"I'm in a Cornish game hen phase right now," Trigg says. "Also, my wife hates fish so I've been trying to get her to like seafood more with things like Chilean sea bass, thick tuna steaks, and calamari steaks."

Trigg, who spends his downtime refining the cooking skills he taught himself as a child, squares off against high-impact knockout artist Robbie Lawler Saturday night at Icon's "Epic" mixed martial arts event at the Blaisdell Arena.

For those taking notes, Trigg's scouting report should also include a voracious appetite for history books (Trigg will argue against the representation of Xerxes as a bald dude in the film "300") and a fondness for "doodling" (he designed the artsy T-shirt he wore to yesterday's pre-fight press conference).

"But I don't doodle in public," he says.

Trigg, 34, proudly rebuffs the popular assumptions about what a professional fighter is supposed to be, from his collegiate curriculum vitae — four years as an All American in wrestling and a degree in public affairs and administration from Oklahoma — to his less than fearsome nickname: "Twinkle Toes."

And, in addition to a 10-year professional fighting career spread out over a half-dozen associations, the telegenic Trigg has also performed admirably on the VH1 reality series "Kept," in which he tried to win the affections of model Jerry Hall, and an episode of "The King of Queens."

None of which is to suggest the Trigg is unfocused in the ring.

Last December, Trigg notched a second-round TKO victory over local favorite Jason "Mayhem" Miller to win the middleweight title. Last month, he defeated highly regarded Kazuo Misaki in a three-round decision.

In Lawler, Trigg knows he'll be facing a ferocious striker. To prepare, Trigg said he focused his training on controlling the location of the fight within the ring, countering, and what he calls "groggy defense" — reacting to blows after he has been hurt or when he is near exhaustion.

Saturday's fight should present a interesting contrast in styles, one that Trigg compares to Evander Holyfield versus Mike Tyson.

"Holyfield is a tactician in that he'll pick his spots, really wear you down, make you very defensive," Trigg said. "Tyson is a brawler. He's going swing for the fences. He's going to bob and weave, get his way in there and knock you out. Robbie is more of a Tyson, but he's a little more refined because he has really good wrestling defense and take-downs."

The two fighters represent an interesting contrast in personalities, as well. Where Trigg met questions yesterday with a veritable flood of mostly thoughtful replies, Lawler preferred to keep tight lipped, unwilling to surrender any information that Trigg might find useful.

Fight plan?

"I'm going to do what I do."

Projected fighting weight?

"Maybe 192. Maybe 200. Whatever."

And where Trigg spoke at length about his out-of-the-ring pursuits, Lawler made it clear what his priority was throughout his training.

"I train in the morning, I train during the day, I train at night."

And for fun?

"I eat," Lawler said. "Sometimes."

Controlled Mayhem: Miller admits that his preparations for his fight against Trigg last year weren't ideal — and he's learned from the experience.

"I had a very shoddy training camp," Miller said. "I didn't put it together that well for the Trigg fight and I paid dearly for it. This time I got extremely focused and I had no extemporaneous problems. No court cases, no headaches no hassles, just focusing on my career.

"As a fighter you have to re-evaluate what you did wrong and make adjustments," he said. "That's the beauty of competition: competing against yourself, not just the man across the ring."

Miller faces Hector Urbina of Ohio in one of Saturday's undercard bouts.


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