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Jon Fitch is ready to ‘put some Big Ten’ on Paul Daley and his ‘no longer granite’ chin

Bellator 199 ‘Bader vs King Mo’ takes place May 12, 2018 at SAP Arena in San Jose, Calif. MMA Mania talks to Jon Fitch about making his Bellator debut against the explosive striking of Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley!

Bellator 199 “Bader vs. King Mo” takes place May 12, 2018 at SAP Arena in San Jose, California. Ryan Bader (24-5) takes on Muhammed Lawal (21-6, 1 NC) in the final first round bracket of the Heavyweight Grand Prix in the main event at the vaunted “Shark Tank.”

Earlier in the night a critical bout in the Welterweight division offers a promotional newcomer a chance to instantly jump to the top of the ladder. Jon Fitch (30-7-1, 1 NC) was the WSOF and PFL Welterweight champion before leaving both behind to sign with Bellator in March. There are no shortage of guys in line to face “Red King” Rory MacDonald, but Fitch’s name and reputation could shortcut him to the top with a very impressive win.

Paul Daley (40-15-2) has something to say about that. Every time “Semtex” fights there’s a strong possibility of a knockout. He’s got some of the heaviest hands this division has ever seen and even though both men had a past in UFC they’ve never crossed paths until right now.

Today MMA Mania talks to Fitch about leaving his last promotion to start over again in Bellator, what he thinks of Paul Daley as an opponent, and why he bailed out on “Sugar” Ray Sefo’s organization this year.

“I was dissatisfied with them not sticking to the contract. I was supposed to have guarantees in my contract about numbers of fights in a year, and time in between fights, and that was unsatisfactory for me to be waiting around. I also felt that I had beaten everybody of significance in the organization and (that) there was just greener pastures in Bellator.”

There’s little question it’s been too long for the now 40 year old Fitch to wait. His last bout was in June 2017 so that’s nearly a full year of inactivity for an elite level fighter.

“I asked them to either pay me the money owed for the fights that I didn’t get or to release me, and they chose to release me. You know it was a bit of a risk but I figured that I’d find a place in Bellator and I did so everything worked out.”

In the process Fitch vacated his WSOF/PFL title, not that he seems too broken up about it, especially given the prospect of a Daley fight looming just around the corner in San Jose.

“I feel great about the match up! You know Paul Daley comes to fight hard, he brings it, and I do best when guys bring the fight to me.”

Once place “Semtex” never brought it to him was UFC. Even though both men were in the organization between 2009 and 2010, for whatever reason that match never came to fruition.

“There were a lot of fights I think I should have had or could have had in UFC but they never put them together — I don’t know why. You know some of it could have been that Joe Silva always said I was one of the hardest guys to match up. No one ever wanted to fight me. People were always hurt or they wanted (to fight) somebody else.”

In 18 UFC fights Fitch went 14-3-1, with his only losses coming against Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks and Demian Maia. Fitch admits though that some folks may be sleeping on the “old man.”

“I think I’ve been around long enough to have built a name up for myself. I think a lot of guys see me as old, so uhh, they think I’m a little bit softer target now — which is a big mistake.”

That would be a mistake given that Fitch has won six of his last seven and four straight in a row. Even at 40 years old Fitch just may be coming into the prime years of a long and storied career.

“It’s not so much the age, it’s the number of years put in I think. You know not too many guys fight 16 years. Josh Thomson’s got me beat, he’s got 20 years in so, I know I’m still not that old.”

Daley may be five years younger than Fitch but he’s been in the fighting game just as long, racking up an astounding 57 MMA fights in that span plus 24 more in kickboxing. He’s also lost 15 MMA fights though so Fitch sees chinks in his armor.

“Yeah you’ve got two guys who definitely know how to fight and I think it’s going to turn into a great night. Man he’s definitely got power, he’s got long arms, but he doesn’t have a lot of other threats. His grappling defense isn’t great, and he doesn’t have a granite chin any more either. If you can sneak in some clean shots on him you can hurt him.”

In addition with Fitch’s 19 wins by decision he knows he can take tough opponents to the judges with his Purdue wrestling and AKA cardio.

“You know he comes to fight and I respect what he does, but I think I’ve got him outclassed as a fighter. I mean that’s generally what I do with everybody (in a fight), that’s what I try to do — see if they can sink or swim. Yeah I think it’s a good strategy to get in his face and put some Big Ten wrestling on him.”

While Fitch can’t afford to look past Daley and his prodigious punching power, he’s still got his eyes on the prize in the Welterweight division.

“I think if I have a really good performance it does (make me a contender). You know I’m coming off a little bit of a layoff, and I want to make sure that I’m ready for that too. Jumping from a three round fight to a five round fight, the training’s different, and I want to make sure that I’m ready to make a step up. My performance Saturday will be a big indicator of that for me.”

Tune in to Bellator 199 on May 12, 2018 to see if Jon Fitch can knock off Paul Daley and take that next step toward facing Rory MacDonald.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Bader vs. King Mo” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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McKee Ready For Lawrence, Ignoring ‘Little Girl Drama’ Coming From McGregor Camp

Bellator 197: “Chandler vs. Girtz” comes to Family Center Arena in St. Charles, Mo., on April 13, 2018, featuring a main event between former Lightweight champion “Iron” Michael Chandler (17-4) against hard-hitting fellow long-time Bellator veteran, Brandon Girtz (15-7).

Elsewhere on the Paramount Network-televised card, two of the promotion’s top-ranked Featherweights will clash as one seeks to vault ahead of the pack, while the other looks to solidify his place at the front of the line. Justin Lawrence (11-4) is coming off two straight wins, but has previously lost fights to Emmanuel Sanchez and John Teixeira, which could have earned him contender status. Meanwhile, the sensational A.J. McKee (10-0) keeps on rolling through the competition. Only 30 percent of McKee’s fights have gone to a decision, and with his third round rear-naked choke at Bellator 187, he’s also proven he can bounce back late in a contest to find yet another big finish.

The subject of “Notorious” Conor McGregor was an unavoidable topic with A.J. McKee given that there is unfinished business between McKee and his fellow undefeated, friend, James Gallagher. I asked McKee for his comments on McGregor’s antics in Brooklyn the same day this interview was recorded.

“It’s Conor, man! He’s a wild man, he’s a fighting Irish, he’s wild. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about the Irish people — they’re wild. But, uhh, some of them back their shit up and some of them don’t. Some of them just like to talk. My previous fight, Brian Moore, he wasn’t a talker, but he came to fight. It was a good fight, fun fight, wish I would have trained more than three weeks for the fight but, HEY, I went in there and did what I had to do.”

McGregor’s antics at Bellator 187 also made headlines, although he wasn’t jumping in the cage a second time when Straight Blast Gym Ireland’s Moore got submitted. McKee promises that if the undefeated Gallagher wants some he can get some, too.

“Whatever!! That dude’s trash, too. He called me a pussy on national television, we’re supposed to fight, yet you’ve taken three (or) four different fights with other people and you still haven’t even attempted to fight me. You want to fight me, and then you pull out of a fight, and then you tell me you want to fight me, but you’re supposedly hurt. A week later you’re talking about you want a fight again. So are you hurt or do you want to fight? It’s a little girl drama. I think he’s scared to fight right now.”

Obviously, there’s no love lost between McKee and anybody at SBG, but the item on the docket at Bellator 197 says Justin Lawrence and not James Gallagher. McKee says he’s fully prepared for war.

“Man, Justin Lawrence is a great fighter. He’s a great opportunity for me to go out there and showcase my skills and really get a top-level contender. I feel like I haven’t fought anyone who’s on my level yet. I’ve kind of just been playing around and taking fights with mediocre guys who I can get away with training for (only) three weeks for a fight and winning, you know? Not really going into a fight prepared. Justin Lawrence isn’t someone that you can do that with. You’ve got to show up prepared, you’ve got to put in the full eight-week camp, and you’ve got to go out there and put on a show and bring the fight to him.”

Lawrence comes into Bellator 197 off back-to-back wins over Treston Thomison and Andrew Natividad. And he’ll also have the support of all the Missouri natives who’ve come to see their native son compete.

“That’s motivation! I’ve had haters motivate me my entire life. I came from nothing so what else are you supposed to do? You’re not supposed to make it if you’re coming from nothing so that’s just motivating me. When they sat there and sang their ‘ole ole ole’ (in Ireland) the whole time I laughed at them — and that thing was roaring loud. It was hilarious to me! So it’s motivation for me and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be fun and Justin Lawrence thanks for this opportunity. Thanks for making me train and preparing me to actually have to fight, you know?”

Even through all of McKee’s self-assured swagger you find a running thread of respect for Lawrence through his words. However, with current champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire that respect dwindles.

“I’m waiting for Pitbull. I told him! I got a leash and a kennel waiting for him. There’s a couple other things I want to accomplish (first) before then. My father’s still fighting so I’m looking forward to doing a father-son fight (card) and competing with my dad. No one’s competed as professional athletes together besides in baseball so for this to be such a hands-on sport I’m really looking forward to breaking more history and being able to do that with him. But, Pitbull, he knows he’s got it coming! 2018 he’s losing that belt. It’s going to be mine.”

Above all else, McKee promises that this will be the best version of him who we’ve ever seen.

“I don’t get tired, I never get tired unless I’m not training of course, and that kind of showed in my last fight. We still know I can dig deep and pull out a W even when I’m tired. That’s a good thing to know and training this full eight weeks, man, (I’m) going to be phenomenal. Nothing against Justin Lawrence, he’s a great fighter, (but) I haven’t taken a fight over 50 percent yet. The fight I fought at 50 percent was Mazzotta and look how that finished. Being 80-90 percent ready is fun, you know? It’s fun and I’m ready to go in there and see what I can actually accomplish and do with a full eight-week camp and feeling almost 100 percent.”

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Chandler vs. Girtz” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Midnight Mania! Darren Till Ready to ‘Get Over My Fears’ to Face Nigerian Nightmare

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Darren Till finally responded to Kamaru Usman today in the rare Twitter war that was both honest, respectful, and also just hilarious trash talk. Till took the rare tack of admitting to all Usman’s claims, saying he was scared of the Nigerian Nightmare, and somehow still managed to roast him at the same time.

Usman started out by calling Till out for beating a lightweight in Donald Cerrone and not wanting to fight him, then made a more general callout to the 170-lb. division. Till freely admitted that he is scared of Usman… then slyly reminded us that Usman claimed he fought his last fight at 30% health, a claim Dana White slammed him for.

Usman threw in Colby Covington’s name, but Colby has been assiduously avoiding a fight with the fellow standout wrestler, so Usman turned to Till.

Everything about this response was hilarious. Till starting out with respect, then roasting Usman for his most recent performance legitimately made me chuckle. But this conversation was far from over. Till admitted he was worried that Usman would pretend he wanted to fight, then end up throwing wrestling him. Despite that, he said he is ready to face his fears and deal with Usman.

For all his admitted ‘fear’, Till doesn’t think Usman can hold him down for five rounds, and strongly feels he has an advantage in the striking department.

The exchange continued…

Till’s opponent for his hometown Liverpool headliner is still To Be Determined. With this exchange, it certainly appears one good matchup would be this fight between two rising prospects in the division. It would represent a good test for Till’s wrestling, and a stern challenge for Usman’s neophyte striking.

Who do you want to see Till matched up against?


Insomnia

Yes, Lyoto Machida does appear to be on top of that massive Brazilian statue of Jesus Christ in Rio. I want to know how one does this.

I’m on Cristo Redentor’s arm.

A post shared by Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) on

Leslie Smith is crushing it with her Project Spearhead memes.

The best part is the celebration at the end.

I love this #davidvsgoliath

A post shared by Matthew Brown (@iamtheimmortal) on

Derrick Lewis posted this street fight yesterday and it’s already a meme

Can relate

Yak shot at a bad angle

A post shared by COMBAT SPORTS / MARTIAL ARTS (@thestranglesquad) on

Cain Velasquez is back in the gym throwing spinning wheel kicks

Benson Henderson is quietly winding down his career in Bellator, but it’s pretty cool that he started from nothing and now owns a gym and has a family.


Slips, Rips, Great Fight Clips

This is happening tonight

These fighters aren’t messing around. They get after it.

This fight is better than all the rest in terms of momentum swings and fighters getting pushed to their limit with everything on the line.

That said, the Diaz-McGregor rivalry is the most memorable in modern MMA.

Shogun Rua vs. Dan Henderson remains one of the best slugfests of all time, no doubt.


Podcasts and Video

AJ and I are back! We discuss what’s next for Volkov, Werdum, Darren Till’s next fight, and what’s wrong with Jordan Peterson’s take on violence.

Check us out on SoundCloud as well as iTunes and Stitcher on the official MMA Mania channel!

Follow MMA Mania on Youtube


Random Land

How

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Cris ‘Cyborg’ Ready for Amanda Nunes After Demolition of Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222

It may have looked like a cakewalk for Cristiane Justino against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222, but that’s not how “Cyborg” prepared.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Cris ‘Cyborg’ Ready for Amanda Nunes After Demolition of Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222

It may have looked like a cakewalk for Cristiane Justino against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222, but that’s not how “Cyborg” prepared.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Cris ‘Cyborg’ Ready for Amanda Nunes After Demolition of Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222

It may have looked like a cakewalk for Cristiane Justino against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222, but that’s not how “Cyborg” prepared.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

A.J. McKee Ready to Ditch ‘Prospect’ Label, Wants Pat Curran, Then Title Shot After Bellator 187

A.J. McKee is ready to shed the “prospect” label.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC 217 Primer: Cody Garbrandt Will Be Ready

We haven’t gotten to see much of Cody Garbrandt since he defeated Dominick Cruz and took the belt. I mean, sure, he coached a season of TUF opposite UFC 217 opponent TJ Dillashaw, but I’m talking about in the cage. So of course there are questions, like… …Will the nearly a year away affect his […]

The post UFC 217 Primer: Cody Garbrandt Will Be Ready appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

UFC 217 Primer: Cody Garbrandt Will Be Ready

We haven’t gotten to see much of Cody Garbrandt since he defeated Dominick Cruz and took the belt. I mean, sure, he coached a season of TUF opposite UFC 217 opponent TJ Dillashaw, but I’m talking about in the cage. So of course there are questions, like… …Will the nearly a year away affect his […]

The post UFC 217 Primer: Cody Garbrandt Will Be Ready appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

  After Not Caring About Wins and Losses Early in Career, Chidi Njokuani Ready to Be Great

Early in his career, mixed martial arts was  little more than a hobby for Chidi Njokuani.
Recent News on Sherdog.com