On Friday November 20th Derek “The Stallion” Campos (15-5) will face Brandon Girtz (13-4) at Bellator 146 in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The lightweight matchup has huge implications for both fighters. Campos who already holds a decision victory over Girtz will be trying to bounce back from a recent loss to Michael Chandler and a 1-2 record over his last three fights, while Girtz will be looking to improve on his two fight win streak and make his case for a title shot in the near future. I recently had a chance to speak with Campos about his career and the upcoming fight with Girtz.
CW: How is your training going? How do you feel coming into this fight?
DC: It’s going really well. I feel good. I feel confident about what were doing, what we’ve been working on. I’ve gotten a couple of dings and little bruises but nothing serious. Its nothing you don’t expect when you’re training hard for a fight. I’m prepared and I’m in good shape physically. I feel like I’m 100% ready to go, mind and body.
CW: How big is this fight for you? You’re one and two in your last three fights. You always want to win obviously but is this one a little bit bigger for you?
DC: Every fight is do or die for me. I’m not too happy with my last fight performance against Chandler but I don’t dwell on it and I know what I want to do going into this next fight against Girtz. We have what I call unfinished business. I want to take it to him and finish him this time.
CW: The Pitbull loss must have been really tough. I’ve rewatched that fight several times and you were really beating him up until he caught you early in the second. It seemed he more knocked you off balance than really hurt you. Did you think that fight got stopped a little prematurely?
DC: Yeah when he got my back and mounted me I was thinking a little too much. I was thinking about what to do and when to scramble instead of scrabbling. I wasn’t scrabbling that’s why he stopped the fight. From the camera I know it looks like a good stoppage but from my mind, No it wasn’t. I know I should have been moving though, so the fight got stopped.
CW: The Bellator lightweight division is stacked with talent. I’ve talked to a lot of the guys and I think there are a lot of legitimate threats out there. What’s your view of the competition?
DC: I think it’s the most competitive division in Bellator right now. You’ve got Brooks, Chandler, Held, Saad Awad, Ryan Couture; You’ve got Josh “The Punk” Thompson. All those guys and more I haven’t even mentioned. It’s a stacked division.
CW: You’ve said your legacy is to be champion. Right now that means you’ll have to go through Will Brooks. He is looking pretty solid. What did you think about his most recent title defense against Marcin Held?
DC: I think he showed true grit, true perseverance by not tapping to that nasty knee bar. I think he said he heard his knee pop. Most guys couldn’t have got through that. It was a different side of Will Brooks. I think that’s what he showcased that night was his determination, mentally not physically. Physically we already knew he was there. He’s one tough son of a gun.
CW: You’ve beaten Girtz before in a decision. A lot of the coverage I’ve read has been about his recent two fight win streak, a big win over Melvin Gulliard and him trying to make it three in a row and it seems like they are covering you as a journeyman whose up and down. What kind of statement will it make if you beat Girtz again?
DC: I’m nobody’s stepping-stone. I’m not a gatekeeper. I’m not just some dog for people to walk on. For me this fight is personal because I didn’t finish the last fight. I knocked him down and I thought I was going to knock him out but I didn’t. For me personally I want to show the world that I’m a top fighter so I’m going in there looking to finish him. That’s my goal.
CW: Girtz likes to come forward and use his striking to set up takedowns but you constantly press the action too. You really like that lead left hook and he keeps his right hand pretty low when striking. Do you think you’ll be able to exploit that the same way Derek Anderson did? Will you have the striking advantage?
DC: I feel confident that Ill have the striking advantage but you never really know for sure until you get in the cage. I think he is going to come in holding his hands high because he knows I have power. Initially I’m looking for his hands to be up but when they do start dropping it’s going to be all about that timing that Derek Anderson used. It’s going to be all about my footwork; staying on the outside of his lead foot and timing. It’s all about that angle. When you fight a southpaw you have to work that footwork.
CW: Even though your record for your last three fights is, I think you would agree, disappointing, Scott Coker and Bellator seems to remain confident in your skill and what you bring to the table. They gave you another main card fight against a high level guy despite you recent setbacks. How good has the organization been to you?
DC: I believe that they know I’m a tough fighter. They’re giving me a chance to showcase what I have. They’re giving me a chance to really rise up. It’s my job, come the 20th, to take advantage of that. To show them that I belong in the top tier, that I belong on the bigger cards, that I can showcase what Bellator is all about. So, yeah it means a lot to me what Bellator has done for me. Now I need to do my part and get back and put on the performances and the type of finishes that are expected of Bellator MMA fighters.
CW: I know you’re concentrating on the fight in front of you but in this talent heavy division is there anyone you’re looking at? If you win who would you like to fight next?
DC: God willing, if this fight goes the way that I see it, I would definitely like the Pitbull rematch. If I don’t get the Pitbull fight I’d like to fight Ryan Couture or Josh “The Punk” Thompson. Those are the only two other guys that I’ve really thought about.
CW: I like to ask all the guys this question and give them a chance to say what they want to about who they are. What do you want to tell people who aren’t really familiar with you yet? What do they need to know about Derek Campos?
DC: I’m just a simple Texas guy. I love being with my family and friends. I fight because I love the competition and I love the sport. There is no greater test than a man going into battle with another man. That’s it. I work a regular everyday job when I’m not fighting. I try to live life to the fullest, give respect to others and take it day by day. I take pride in everything I do whether it’s in the cage or at an 8 to 5 job.
CW: Thanks a lot Derek. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and I would love the chance to talk to you again in the future.
DC: No problem. Thank you. Yeah, we can talk again anytime.
Derek Campos is a well-rounded fighter. Out of his fifteen victories four are by KO and five by submission. He packs power in both hands, can take the fight to the ground and works well off of his back. This is a big fight for both men. Girtz would like to avenge his earlier loss to “The Stallion” and Campos plans on making a statement. One thing is clear, Derek Campos was right when he said this fight is “unfinished business.” Don’t miss Bellator 146 Friday November 20th.
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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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