On July 17th, Bellator 140 will host a series of 5 welterweight bouts on the main card to determine who gets the next shot at the title. Chris Honeycutt is set to take part in a night filled with title implications by facing Paul Bradley in the co main event on Spike.
As he prepares for his biggest fight yet, I spoke with a highly confident, and relaxed Honeycutt:
MMALatest News: First off, congratulations on making the co main event headline!
“Yeah, that’s awesome! I’m pretty stoked for that.”
Chris, I have to ask you, as a fellow California native, how have you been liking it out here?
I like California! I mean it’s hard that it’s far away from my home. My girlfriend moved out here, and I met her in college in Pennsylvania, and we lived about 10 miles away from Edinboro, so it’s the first time she’s moved far away from home, so it’s hard on her. But other then being away from our families, through thousands of miles, I love it out here! Weather is nice and I do not miss it… no, by any means. I will sit outside with my shirt off in 60 degrees, 40 degree weather because I’m used to being in -10, or – 20 with 3 feet of snow.
How has preparation been in your camp?
“Oh this camp has been the best camp yet! My weight has never been so under control and my body is really, really adapting. And it’s just been getting super, super hard. I mean my cardio, for the most part, (preparation has been) cardio camp, so I mean, as far as my conditioning goes, I am ready. I can probably fight a title fight right now. And now that my camp is over and I’ve had a couple of days to let my body heal a little bit, I’ve been looking really sharp.
“Then the real question is: “How long will I have the belt?” “Am I going to go a whole decade, or am I going to go for 5 years?””
Great, and speaking of your camp: Whats the atmosphere been like at the gym when it was announced that Josh Koscheck got signed?
“That’s great. I’m happy for Josh! He’s obviously is coming to Bellator. It’s like perfect timing right? I’m thankful that I came to Bellator, I mean that’s awesome! I’m glad they gave me the opportunity and I’m very happy to be with Bellator, and you know it’s good to have Koscheck in the same camp. He’s not in camp right now, so he’s a coach to me. When he’s in camp, we’re kind of like teammates. Actually, I’m the only person in camp that was next for a fight, so I had the whole gym totally behind me on all my needs. They were all fresh bodies, and they were all rotating on me, so you know it was a hard camp, but it’s necessary for the possibilities that (could) go down Friday.”
Koscheck stated in an interview that he watches his and your career closely. What does that mean to you?
Well, we kind of have that relationship. I didn’t know Josh from college, but we both had Tim Flynn as our college wrestling coach.He has the same work ethic, and the mentality of how you bring success; and we got that through the same coach. So we both have the same outlook on what it takes. That’s what drives me.
He did all the hard work. I’m basically skipping steps because he already put in all the work, and I just take what he says, and I run with it. In between him and my boxing coach Marcos, my muay thai coach, and my teamates… we’re all getting better from one another. We’re all going to excel as a gym, but yeah, having Josh go out in an interview and say “I focus on his career and mine,” I care just as much about his career as I do mine. It means a lot.
The entire card on July 17th is lined up with top welterweights, and you being in the co-main event, do you feel that with a win you’re next in line for a title shot?
Yeah, I’m not gonna assume anything, but my personal opinion: I think it depends on performance. You know if it’s a dog fight and it goes back and fourth, and when I win either by tko or decision, you know it’s all about the performance. If I got out there and just totally smash him and I do what I plan on doing; then why wouldn’t I get a title shot? But at the same time, I’m not thinking about that. I’ll let my managers and Scott Coker decide if it’s my time (now,) or if it’s my next fight, or the one after, or the one after that. All I know is eventually I’ll have it, and I’ll have the belt.Then the real question is: “How long will I have the belt?” Am I gonna go a whole decade, or am I gonna go 5 years? I can see how people say I get the title shot, just because if it wasn’t for the title fight in this event, I would be the main event. I’m just gonna go out there, and win my fight, and make it obviously known that I deserve that title shot. And if it’s not this next one, then it’s the one after.
What were your thoughts on Paul Bradley’s performance at Bellator 129?
I watch film, so I could get a good visual of who I’ll be facing. I try not to think too much about what their going to do. I think what am I going to do. I’m trying to remember if I already watched his last fight or not. Do you remember who he fought last?
It was Josh Neer.
So didn’t he take him down, and just hold him down? And didn’t he end up grinding him out?
I believe it was a unanimous decision win.
Yeah, he just held him down the whole time. And why wouldn’t Paul do that if Neer won’t put the effort to stand up? because he’s wanting to try and play the jiu jitsu game. A lot of jiu jitsu people fall into that. They’re comfortable being on their back because that’s what jiu jitsu is, but in a fight when you’re on your back, you’re losing. You should be trying to get up, or reverse, or something.
There’s really not much to learn from that except that Paul doesn’t really put himself out there to beat you up. He only tends to punch you when you’re trying to get up. He fought at Bellator 129 you said? He’s had a longer break, so I have the advantage. My last fight was more recent.
Do you feel nervous not fighting in your adopted home town?
If anything I’m going to feel like I’m even more at home! I spent two years on the west side of Boston in North Andover, which is only about an hour and 20 minutes away from the Mohegan Sun. For two of my four years of high school I was in Cleveland. And I spent 5 years in Pennsylvania which is 5 or 6 hours away (from Mohegan sun.) So I have hundreds of people coming to watch me fight. I’m going to feel more at home there.
Obviously Fresno is my home now. This is where the setting stone of my mixed martial arts career started. Fresno has opened up to me with open arms and they support me, but I have big roots back east. I look forward to putting on a great show for all my friends, family and fans; and I’m just looking forward to it. So no.
Last question: Who do you thinks going to win between champion D. Lima and A. Koreshkov?
I have no idea, I just hope I can get in the back and put my four piece suit on before it starts, so I can watch it. I’ll tell you what though, I’ll be DVR-ing this card on my TV. What a learning experience. I could just go back and watch my weight class drill and drill. I’ll be able to really pin point my performance amongst everyone else. It’ll be a confidence booster.
I want to give a special thanks to Chris Honeycutt for speaking with us. You can follow him on twitter @ChrisTheCutt
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Exclusive: Saad Awad looking for the quick knockout at Bellator 193
Saad Awad makes his return to the Bellator cage Friday as he takes on JJ Ambrose.
The veteran Awad has been with Bellator since 2013, amassing a 9-5 record in the process, with five of those wins coming via knockout. Impressive wins against Will Brooks and Evangelista Santos feature on his 21-9 record.
The heavy-handed striker gets to fight in his backyard of California for the first time in over a year. A native of San Bernardino, Awad is fighting only forty-five minutes from his home, in the co-main event no less.
“It’s great,” Awad told MMA Latest about co-main eventing in California. “I’m about forty-five minutes from my house, the arena sold out the week they released the tickets. So I know a lot of people are going to be here and the energy’s going to be really good, it’s going to be great, and it’s going to help me mentally.”
Meeting Awad in the co-main is a fellow California native himself, JJ Ambrose. Ambrose has been fighting since 2005 and has amassed 26 wins in his 13-year career.
“He’s a veteran, he kind of flew under the radar,” Awad said. “He’s fought all over the place. I think he brings a lot of experience, a good solid stand-up, and ground game, and wrestling.”
Although Awad highlighted Ambrose’s quality, make no mistake, the “Assassin” believes he holds all the advantages.
“I match-up with him great, to be honest, I think my striking is a little bit better, I think I hit a lot harder and my jiu-jitsu’s going to be a bit better, and I’m going to be able to outwrestle him,” Awad explained. “So I think stylistically it’s a bad matchup for him.”
Awad is coming off of a quick KO, one minute, seven seconds, over Zach Freeman. The quick win didn’t come as a surprise to Awad as he always expects to finish his opponents quickly.
“I mean, not be cocky, but I expect to get a quick KO against everybody,” Awad said. “When I don’t get a quick KO then I’m like ‘okay something’s wrong’ so then I have to change my gameplan up. So nothing against Zach Freeman, I mean, every fight I go in there looking for the quick knockout.”
Currently, on a solid two-fight winning streak, Awad highlights what exactly the key’s been for him to get this far.
“Honestly, I’ve just been training a lot,” Awad said. “I’ve just been training and focusing a lot on little details that I knew were my flaws, and every fight I’ll keep something new. If I see something go wrong in one of my fights, I’ll tweak that out and train it and get a little bit better and then just try and keep improving.”
With a win taking Awad to three victories in a row, it would make sense to offer the veteran a big fight. But Awad doesn’t have a name in mind next, although he doesn’t believe it would matter anyway.
“Whoever they give me,” Awad said. “I can ask for fights but they won’t give them to me. “My only thing is trying to get a title fight, I’m not even going to ask for that anymore. I’m going to ask them to keep me busy. I just want to stay busy. I get paid the same no matter who I fight so as long as they keep me busy, that’s what I’m happy for.”
As for 2018, Awad’s goals remain simple.
“Keep winning,” Awad said. “Stay busy and keep winning.”
If things go the way Awad expects, fans are in for a treat. As for Ambrose? Not so much.
“I’m going to go in there and leave with a knockout, a violent knockout,” Awad said. “Get my hand raised, talk some shit, and leave.”
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