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Countdown to Bellator 141: Derek Anderson – “I Got Hands Like Tyson”

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Derek “The Barbaric” Anderson (12-1-1) is looking to make a name for himself. Eleven of his twelve wins have come by finish against some of the best lightweights Bellator has to offer. He knocked out Brandon Girtz, who is headlining the Bellator 141 card at 23 seconds of the second round with a vicious, perfectly placed knee, so he doesn’t understand why his fight is so far down the card. He is hoping a decisive finish of Brent Primus will finally bring him the recognition he deserves. I recently had a chance to talk to Derek about his career and his upcoming fight against Primus.

CW– You’re obviously a well-rounded fighter. Good stand up and good ground game. 11 of your 12 wins by finish, pretty equally divided between knockouts and submissions. How’s your training camp been going for this fight? Anything in particular you’ve been working on?

DA– I’ve just been training like I normally do, maybe going a little harder than normal. I’m more of a Muay Thai fighter. Ya know, my hands are just so freaking good now. My hands deliver a little more of the output than my kicks right now but those are pretty good too. I’ve been working a lot on my ground game, lots of jujitsu. I have been doing some offensive wrestling too. I haven’t done too much of that because I’m always looking to stand on my feet, but I’ve got a nasty double leg. If you’re over 200 pounds I can still bring you down. I’m just becoming more and more well rounded altogether.

CW– I noticed watching some of your older fights that you’re pretty good at getting into dominate positions, threatening with a submission and then using those opening to get the mount. It that a particular style trait or has it just kind of worked out that way?

DA– It just seems to work out that way. I don’t I think too much during the fight, it just kind happens. Maybe I’ll beat him up one way but if something opens up I’ll beat him up a different way.

CW– You’ve got some creative striking. I was impressed with the spinning back fist followed by the spinning kick, which you go both to the head and body with.

DA—Yeah, I work on it but I don’t train it too much because I know it catches people off guard and I don’t want to knock my training partners out. I’m pretty good with my distancing so I think I can throw a lot of stuff. I like to be flashy, just like everyone else. I’m just realizing with my hands, I got hands like Tyson. So I want to use them and set up opportunities to use them anyway I can.

CW– During the Marcin Held fight the commentators said that you were kind of disrespectful of Held’s grappling skills and that you weren’t worried about getting caught in his leg lock. They said that you thought he was one-dimensional in that regard. Was there a little bit of pride there? I mean did you want to prove that you could handle an elite grappler at his own game, which led to you fighting his fight instead of yours?

DA– It was just kind of the way happened. The first round he was going for the ankle and I was pounding him pretty good. I thought I might knock him out. I love the ground and pound. Ya know, you’re still punching so if he’s got a hold of my leg but I’m punching him, I’m okay with that. That second round, when he pulled guard, before he got me in that triangle, I thought, “If he wants to go to the ground, I can do that. I’ll just lay some more ground and pound on him.” Now when I’m down there I’m trying to land blows and knock people out. I’m not trying to hold them or score points. I’m trying to finish the fight. It’s a fight. If you’re on the street you don’t try and hold somebody down, you try and finish it.

CW—In your last fight against Navarro you seemed to show some improved striking.

DA– Oh yeah, I think I’m constantly evolving and getting better. I actually think I could’ve done a little better in that fight. I think I was kind of maybe hurt from the cut a little, because I was leaning back a little more than I wanted to. He got lucky to make it into the third.

CW– I thought Herb Dean could have ended that fight about 2 minutes into the third when you landed that first, hard right hook. Were you thinking, “Man what do I have to do to put this guy away?”

DA—Yeah, Navarro is a tough kid and he kept coming. He was ready. But I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I was just thinking, “OK just keep beating him up.” Now, I can pour it on when it’s time for sure, but I nailed him and I’ve been taught to be patient fighter so that’s what I did and it worked out.

CW– You’ve got an impressive record and you’re pretty far down the card. Do you feel like you’re being overlooked a little bit?

DA– Oh yeah for sure man. Ha ha. I’ve been saying the same thing for a little while now. I don’t know what the deal is, but it is what it is. So I’m just going to have to knock him out and hope next time they put me a TV.

CW—What are your thoughts on Brent Primus and the your upcoming fight against him?

DA– If he wants to try and keep it on the feet, it is going to be a long, bad night for him. Even on the ground, I don’t care who you are, I know what’s up, and I don’t care about a black belt. I made a mistake with Marcin. I barely even trained jiu-jitsu for that fight. I just responded and I did pretty well until that triangle at the end there. I feel like I had a moral victory over him, just surviving the leg lock and then I was just like, “oh shit a triangle,” you know, I wasn’t even thinking about it. So I feel like I’m a little more prepared this time you know. If he wants to go to ground, which, I’m sure he is going want to go to the ground, because he won’t be able to mess with my striking, I’m ready for it. But in striking there’s no one in the division that can mess with me.

CW– What do you want people to know about Derek Anderson?

DA– If you don’t know my name yet, you’re going to pretty soon. If you want to get ahead of the game start being a fan now. One day I’m going to be champion of the world.

CW—Thanks Derek.

DA—Anytime man.

Derek Anderson is a fluid striker and tons of fun to watch. He feels like he has something to prove and sees this fight as his chance to do just that. Be sure not to miss Anderson against Brent Primus at Bellator 141. It’s a guaranteed exciting fight that will undoubtedly end in a finish.

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Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

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Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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