Bobby Lashley has been the talk of the internet since his latest victory over Bob Sapp at the Ultimate Chaos event this past weekend. You have his supporters and detractors evaluating his performances thus far, but there is one thing they both can agree on. Bobby Lashley needs to take a step up in competition, and right now is the time to do so. I said it well before the fight happened; a win over Bob Sapp does absolutely nothing for his career. Why go into a fight like that with nothing to gain and risking injury? We didn't learn anything from that fight because we already knew Sapp would fold like momma's laundry once the pressure was on. There are quite a few fighters out there that Lashley could fight next. However, I have two in mind that I believe would be the right step up in competition. Check it:
- Andrei Arlovski
- Tim Sylvia
The fact of the matter is Arlovski is still a very good heavyweight that could give anyone problems on any given night, provided he puts on a chin strap with titanium in it. His last two losses are to the best heavyweight on the planet, and a guy that's undefeated in his MMA career in Brett Rogers. He's not damaged goods yet in regards to an up and comers making a name off him. He's susceptible to the take down as we saw with Roy Nelson, and as we've seen with Lashley, that's his bread and butter. It's a fight that can realistically happen since Affliction does not want to re-sign Arlovski. It's also a fight that Lashley could have a shot at winning. On the flipside of that, if Lashley were to lose, then he lost to a legitimate heavyweight that's borderline top ten at the moment.
The other option is Tim Sylvia who just got KTFO by Ray Mercer. Tim Sylvia was supposed to fight Paul Buentello at Affliction 3, but with the loss, Affliction has decided not to use him. Sylvia is susceptible to the take down as well, and it's a fight that Lashley has the potential to win. If Lashley isn't able to beat Tim Sylvia at this point, then that would answer all the questions about why isn't Lashley in the UFC yet. I'm sure Monte Cox would welcome the shot in the arm that Lashley would give his Adrenaline promotion, and it's a fight that can realistically happen since Cox manages Sylvia.
As I pointed out, both of these guys weaknesses are the strengths of Lashley as well and these fights would help answer a lot of questions in regards to what Lashley is capable of. We know he can wrestle and he does possess some ground in pound. However, can he take a punch from a legitimate heavyweight? How will he react if he doesn't get the take down? What does his stand up game look like? There are other fighters out there that could fit the bill in terms of a step up in competition, but these two guys probably have more name recognition than most others.