Lacey Schwimmer: Partner Mark Dacascos Is DWTS‘ “Dark Horse”

The new season of Dancing With the Stars hasn't even begun, but Lacey Schwimmer is betting that her partner, Iron Chef America's Mark Dacascos, could win it all.

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"I think that he's going to be the dark horse of the season," she tells exclusively. "It's too soon to say, but I'd obviously hope we can make it all the way through. It's a little scary — there's a bunch of double eliminations this time, so we're going to save it and hope we don't go home soon. I think he's going to be great."

His extensive training in martial arts could be his best asset in the dancing competition, she says.

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"He understands competition — he's so precise about everything," she tells Us. "I've never, ever, ever in my entire life of teaching had a student ask, 'So what should my head be doing? What should my fingers be doing?' From head to toe, this guy is asking everything."

Even if they don't win the trophy this season, the pro dancer is certain Dacascos, 45, will fare better than her two previous partners, Steve-O and Lance Bass.

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"Personality-wise, I've gotten along with all three of my partners. I'm a pretty easy person to get along with, so that's not different, but he picks up super-fast, which is great for me," she tells Us. "I've been giving him super-intricate things, which are a lot more intricate than anything I gave Lance or Steve-O."

And how is their chemistry as dance partners?

"We're laughing pretty much the entire rehearsal, so it's a good atmosphere to work in," she says.

Schwimmer and Dacascos will debut their hard work on the show's ninth season premiere on Sept. 21 on ABC.

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