On Friday, Bellator MMA will put on one of the most intriguing cards of the year, as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson returns to Bellator to take on former Olympic gold medalist in Ishii. Also, former UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione makes his Bellator debut, as he takes on Carl Seumanutafa, while the co – main event features Michael Chandler and Patricky Freire for the vacant lightweight title.
Bellator is going through a very interesting phase at the moment, and with Viacom’s backing, Coker could soon find himself bringing Rory MacDonald to the promotion. Scott has been actively looking to bring in the big names, and with current UFC fighters keeping their options open due to the Reebok deal, we may very well see Bellator creating waves in the US in the next few months.
Satoshi Ishii is one of the biggest names in Japanese MMA, but has never fought in the United States. With Ishii scheduled to fight Rampage during his North American debut, the former Olympic gold medalist expressed his excitement during the recent conference call.
“I’m excited for this fight, and I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait till Friday”, Ishii told me when I asked him about fighting Quinton.
Ishii also spoke about sticking to his strengths, and not trying to match Jackson in the striking department. While Rampage is years past his prime, he still has explosive power, and is one of the best strikers in the LHW division. Ishii was wary of Quinton’s strengths, and preferred to play to his strengths.
“No, well, I’m more of a ground fighter. So I think it’s better for me to go to the ground.”
Quinton however was in his element, but kept his lips sealed about his strategy for the upcoming fight.
“Oh I’m going to tell you my game plan right now, while Ishii is listening to this interview (laughs). Give me one second, game plan’s coming right up”, Rampage said jokingly when asked about how he planned to take the fight to Ishii.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion recently talked about changing his training regimen now that he’s nearing his 40s. When asked about his training camp and the changes in his training, Rampage said, “My camp went great. It was easily one of the best camps I’ve had in a long time.
(I am) more relaxed, train smarter.”
The most interesting part of our conversation came when I asked Jackson about facing the current Bellator light heavyweight champion, Liam McGeary. Not too long ago, McGeary said that it would be an honor to fight Rampage, and that he would be down for a fight with him. However, Rampage played coy when I asked him about facing McGeary before moving up to the heavyweight division.
“Who’s that?” Asked Rampage, before saying, “I’m thinking of moving to heavyweight buddy. I don’t like cutting weight buddy.”
When reached for comment, McGeary responded by saying, “Haha, well tell him to look up the other imgettintoooldforthisgame Guy and he will soon see who I am.”
Haha, well tell him to look up the other imgettintoooldforthisgame Guy and he will soon see who I am https://t.co/yi32e03WJQ— Liam McGeary (@liam_mcgeary) June 21, 2016
Mitrione, who will be making his Bellator debut, also commented about his upcoming fight. Matt’s opponent has won 10 professional fights, with 9 of them coming via knockout. However Mitrione wasn’t too worried about Carl’s power, and downplayed his opponent’s chances.
“I see knocking Carl in his face and putting my shins on his body till he decides he doesn’t want to play anymore.”Published 23 Jun 2016, 21:00 IST