A.J. Matthews’ has a lot riding on his upcoming fight against Emiliano Sordi. Every fight is important to every fighter but Matthews, at 7-3 needs to show the MMA world what he is capable of and prove what he already knows-That he is right where he is supposed to be, doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing.
CW– How is your training going? Are you still at Blackline or did you make the move to Alliance MMA fulltime?
AJ– I never made the move to Alliance. I made an executive decision in my life. My manager wanted me to move. I understand the reasons. But I’m at a point in my life where I’ve been fighting for a while, I know my body, I know what I need to prepare, so I decided to stay local at Blackline with my family. The only thing I outsourced was my kick boxing coach, that’s Ed Buckley. He’s right here in Oceanside, so it’s not even really a drive. It’s crazy you know, because striking is my shit, that’s what people I think would say about me but I never really had a consistent striking coach, but I have that now and I just feel like that’s the water that my fighting plant needed.
CW– I know you started as a grappler with BJJ, but you obviously like to strike. You seem like a natural kick boxer to me, with 5 out of your 7 wins by KO. Do you think on the feet is where you’re most dangerous?
AJ– I would like to say that I’m well rounded but maybe my record would say otherwise. That’s the thing about it, is people fall asleep too fast when I fight them, I put them to sleep too fast, so that I don’t even get a chance to grapple.
CW– You’ve bounced back and forth from welter and middleweights with most of time at middle. Your last fight was at 185 and you looked good there. Is this weight division going to be your home from now on?
AJ– I feel great at 185 pounds. The real reason for the move was when I was going down to 170 pounds I was losing so much mass around my shoulders and then I had two shoulder operations. When I was training for fights, literally every single day a shoulder would come out. At the point, it was to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped training. I didn’t want to fight. But you realize what you’re put on the planet for and I told my manager, “Give me a fight. Let’s do it 185.” My shoulder has not come out since I made that decision. So I’ll be a 185 because I don’t want my shoulder to come out man.
CW– You sparred with Brandon Vera for his Shogun fight. That had to be a confidence builder that he asked you to do that but also a humbling experience to be in there with a “next level” type fighter?
AJ– Alliance has big guys and little guys, and I was just this welterweight but I’m kick boxer and I’m crazy so I volunteered to spare with him because he is an idol mine, and I knew I could give him that look. You can ask anybody, when Brandon and I were sparring everyone would just stop what they were doing and come over to watch us. I tried to kill that motherfucker. But that led to me sparring with Phil Davis. I sparred with Al Gustafsson when he was getting ready for Shogun. I’ve sparred with all the biggest guys and the only thing I can say about that is, “Ask them how I did.” I think people might not believe it if I said did well so I can just say ask them.
CW—Depending on where you look, Emiliano Sordi is ranked 64 with all 13 wins by finish. You’re ranked 269. This is a big jump in competition for you. It’s a real opportunity.
AJ– He’s ranked higher than me? Where do you guys find the stuff? Ha ha, I’m just kidding. Absolutely, this fight is so important. This is my chance to let the world know that I’m as good as my close family and friends and my training partners know that I am. And if that’s got to be on Sordi’s head that I show that, no hard feelings, that’s how it’s going to be. He signed the contract.
CW– Sordi’s cardio seems like it’s an issue to me. Have you and your coaches noticed the same thing?
AJ—Yeah, absolutely. He would be dumb and his coaches would be dumb if they think he can fight me if he comes in there out of shape. So even though we’ve noticed that I’m not expecting it to be an issue. I’m expecting him to hit hard all three rounds. And I fucking hope so. I want a fight.
CW– You’re good up against the cage whether you’re pressing your opponent or if you’re backed up against it and that seems to be where he is going to try and take the fight, looking to get you up against the cage.
AJ—Ah, thanks, I appreciate you saying that. That’s a compliment for a skill not a lot of people catch. God, my team consists of Jason Lambert, and Joey Beltran. These are guys that invented that kind of fighting beating guys up the cage. So if someone wants to go up against the cage in the clinch with me, homey I’m down.
CW—Where do you think your advantage is?
AJ– My clear advantage in this fight is just mixed martial arts altogether. I’m just kidding, man. I’m just saying if he thinks he can have an advantage on the ground he’s going to be surprised. I think everyone will be surprised.
CW—Last Question. What do you want people to know about A.J. Matthews?
AJ– I don’t know man… Well…I’m sober now. Nobody knows this but I’m a drunk. This is the first training camp of I’ve ever went into where I’m physically fit and mentally stable. Not fat ,sloppy and drunk. So I’m excited for everyone to see that, and it’s just changed the whole composition of my life. I’m taking ballroom dancing classes; I started playing the ukulele, reading books. I’m training and I’m just happy. I’m so much more AJ Matthews then I ever was before. Now I’m really going have the chance show everyone what I can do.
At Bellator 141 A.J. “The Mercenary” Matthews is going to have his chance to show the world what he can do. He thinks the changes in his training and personal life are just the recipe to serve up the kind of dish he is capable of. He has a lot of high-level training partners supporting him in that effort that agree. Matthews has always been an exciting fighter, and no fan of the sport should miss the unveiling of this new and improved version of The Mercenary Friday Aug. 28th.
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Exclusive: Jalin Turner vs Noah Tillis set for Bellator LA in January
Bellator LA: Douglas Lima vs Rory MacDonald, has just had another entertaining fight added as two talented prospects Jalin Turner and Noah Tillis are set to meet in a lightweight bout. Sources close to the fight confirmed the news to MMA Latest earlier this morning.
Jalin “The Tarantula” Turner makes his return to the Bellator cage for the first time since January 2017, where he defeated Gabriel Green by knockout, in an exciting fight that only lasted 36 seconds. Since the fight, Turner has gone 2-1 where he defeated Paradise Vaovasa by KO, at Tachi PF 31, before dropping his next fight to Richard LeRoy by TKO, at CFX 8. Turner bounced back from the loss by beating Vytautas Sadauskas by submission, at KOTC: Never Quit, back in September.
Noah Tillis is currently coming off of a 9-second submission victory against Jeff Carson, at Gladiator Challenge: American Pride, back in July. The “Submission Magician” has amassed a professional record of 3-2 with three victories coming by submission, DQ, and a TKO due to injury. His two losses coming by way of TKO and decision.
It is unclear where the fight will be featured, but it is assumed it will take place on the undercard. The potential brawl represents a stiff challenge for either man, as well as an opportunity to make some noise in an always deep lightweight division.
The only other fight currently announced on the card is the main event between current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title challenger, Rory MacDonald. Bellator LA: Lima vs MacDonald is set to take place on Saturday, January 20th, in Los Angeles, Calfornia, at the Forum.
Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor wants to knockout Trey Branch then fight Brian Moore in Bellator on St. Patricks Day
Going from postlim fights in Bellator to a co-main event and then a main card fight after with such little professional experience isn’t something you’d hear of very often in the slightest. In this case Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor is the exception, who in only his third professional fight went to Ireland as part of the co-main event for a fight with James Gallagher. Taylor became well known to many in the build-up to that fight for being so outspoken and quite an entertainer, something he carries with him to the cage.
Anthony Taylor now has himself a fight lined up in a regional show near his home in California at California Fighting Championships. This will be his first time fighting back in America since May 2016. His last two bouts were in Europe as part of Bellator’s expansion into Europe. Following two losses he now hopes to get back in the win column in front of a home crowd. Taking this fight as a tune off fight Anthony is confident he won’t be touched by his opponent Trey Branch.
“Well, I’m taking this fight because Bellator said I’ll be fighting next year for overseas and it will be a good tune off fight for me. I think of trey like any other fighter. Just a guy who’s not going to touch me nor beat me.”
His opponent Trey Branch is jumping up from flyweight for this fight, Anthony believes he’s going to dominate his opponent and knock him out with ease. Now having 3 career losses coming via submission, he is not worried about his ground game, guaranteeing it was improved from training with some of the top fighters in Bellator.
“I believe I’m going to overpower him and KO him. He’s coming up from 125lb to fight me which I stated to the world on Bellator that I’m the strongest 45er in the world!! And as far as my ground game, it’d be covered and it’s great. Thanks to AJ McKee, Baby Slice, Joey Davis and Aaron Pico. My ground game is great and up there to the level, as there’s”
Looking ahead to next year when he competes in Bellator again, Taylor has his eyes set on a big fight in a return to Irish soil.
“Well Bellator loves me and I proved them that I belong there. I haven’t been told when I was fighting but I hope it’s back in Ireland, and maybe on St. Patricks day and hopefully I’ll fight Brian Moore because me and him been wanting to fight the longest.”
As a training partner for AJ McKee, Taylor was very pleased with how the fight went down, claiming it was a simple enough fight for his teammate that apparently didn’t train much for the fight. Suffering a loss on the initial trip to the emerald isle, “PrettyBoy” wants to come back and take home a win next time around.
“Oh man it was an easy fight for AJ, he only trained 2 weeks for that Brian Moore fight” he laughs “but absolutely it would be a great show if I was also on the show me and James alone still holds the record of views internationally and I’m looking to come back and taking what’s mines which is that W”
The win against Brian Moore could now potentially line up a fight between McKee and James Gallagher, fight fans have long sought after. Having fought against James and training with McKee on the regular Taylor isn’t convinced that Gallagher is ready for the AJ just yet. He also had some words about SBG fighters who were calling out Baby Slice.
“James is not ready for AJ. And people calling out slice since he’s new in the game. Why are sbg guys not calling out Joey Davis?? They are all talk and think that they’re better than everyone.”
With a win on Saturday, Anthony Taylor thinks it will kick him off to a series of consecutive wins that could ultimately land him in a fight with Emmanuel Sanchez.
“Yes it will start off (Saturday) and I believe it will set me up tremendously. I’m only getting better and I plan on winning fights in Bellator and then taking out Emanuel Sanchez. I do not like him, I hate him”
“I don’t like his style and he’s always hating on my teammates so I want his head” he added
Away from the fight scene, Anthony is pleased with the life that he’s got set up for himself with his newfound love since joining Bellator as he now aims to break into the movie industry too.
“Man it’s been great I now have a wonderful woman in my life so I’m happy. I’m acting too, trying to get into the movies industry and God has blessed me which so much love”
You can follow Anthony Taylor on all his social media accounts to keep an eye out for all his upcoming fight information and results.
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