What is the most stacked division in Bellator right now? If your answer is anything other than Featherweight, then please find me and let’s talk about this. With guys like champion Daniel Straus, Patricio Freire, Pat Curran, and Daniel Weichel, the division is long on talent and continues to be one of the most exciting divisions in any MMA organization.
One of their biggest rising stars is Roufus Sport product Emmanuel Sanchez. While Bellator has yet to crack the Mexican scene, the first call they will make would be to Sanchez. A winner of three straight and 5-1 in Bellator, he’s a fast rising star in this super stacked division. ‘El Matador’ will open up the main card of Bellator 159 this Friday, July 22, against former title challenger Daniel Weichel. I spoke with Sanchez on his fight, Bellator going to Mexico, and CM Punk’s training.
Vinny Craig: I spoke to Lightweight Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire a few weeks ago and asked him about Bellator reaching Brazil. They have also yet to enter Mexico, when does Bellator hit Mexico.
Emmanuel Sanchez: I don’t know, but when they do, man, do I really want to be on that card!
VC: What fight would be ideal for a card like that?
ES: They could be put me against a fellow Mexican fighter, a Brazilian fighter, whoever Bellator deems worthy. Ideally, I go out and win the belt and defend it Mexico.
VC: When the UFC went to Mexico City, proven cardio ready guys like Cain Velasquez and Gilbert Melendez seemed to have issues in the high altitude. How do you make the changes if you get onto a Mexico City card?
ES: I’d go down and train there! Just to get acclimated and do what I need to do.
VC: You train with a great team with guys like the Pettis brothers, Ben Askren, and Tyron Woodley when he comes by. What are the advantages you have training with such a diverse group and with such a great coach in Duke Roufus?
ES: It’s such a huge advantage. I know it’s a fight and so many people bring different things to the table, but I have absolutely no fear of anyone’s game. I have the best jiu-jitsu guys, the best wrestling guys, the best guys for striking in MMA. I’m ready for anybody, anywhere, anytime! When I enter the cage I’m 100% ready for battle and nothing breaks me in there. I know I’m ready each and every time I step into that cage [because of them].
VC: CM Punk trains there as well, how is his training coming along?
ES: He’s great, he’s a hard worker. People can say whatever they want to say, and think what they want to think, but the man is always working. He’s not just trying to go in there and put on a show as the WWE superstar and make a mockery of it, the man is here everyday training his striking, jiu-jitsu, getting ready for the fight. He’s not looking to go out and talk some crap to make some money, he’s looking to go out and win and win in impressive fashion, that’s how you put on a show. He’s going to prove the doubters wrong and go out and put on a hell of a show.
VC: Will you get the pleasure of being in his corner in Cleveland?
ES: I’ll be there, for sure. My coaches have top priority, but whoever he chooses after that. I know for sure I’ll drive down there to Ohio and watch the scrap.
VC: You will fight for the sixth time in sixteen months after this fight. Do you like this frenetic pace? Is this how you stay in shape is by fighting so often?
ES: I love to stay active. Yes, it’s important to take time off for your health and well-being and to get better. I’m Mexican, I don’t know how to take breaks. It’s how my parents raised me, it’s just what I do. My trainer [Duke Roufus] calls me ‘Overtime’ like we have ‘Showtime’, he doesn’t call me that for no reason. We’re MMA fighters, we don’t have an off-season. I know If I want to provide for myself, get better, and become a champion, I have to go out and fight. Let’s beat these guys and do whatever it takes to beat these guys. I don’t prepare for fights as they come, I’m always in the gym training. I’m not always training for a fight, but looking to improve in every way, shape, or form.
VC: You fought so many times in 2015 alone, and champion Daniel Straus has yet to defend since winning the belt in November. If you win and the title fight isn’t there, do you take another fight in between?
ES: If that’s what the bosses want, whatever they say goes. If [the title shot] is not there, it’s not there. I will continue to get better. I’m in a better place now after signing a new deal. I’m not in this sport to make money, but I am in it to provide for myself. Let’s be intelligent with what fights we take and not just fight. Time will tell, I’m just focused on destroying Daniel Weichel right now.
VC: You mentioned pay there and you getting a new deal. Your gym sees many different fighters from other organizations. Do you think everyone is happy with their organizations and the pay they receive?
ES: I mean, the Pettis brothers and others have established themselves already. Anthony got established in the WEC and had good sponsors, he’s even separately sponsored by Reebok. He has other ways to make income, but I don’t want to compare myself to those guys. I didn’t get in this sport to be a millionaire; I did it for the love of the sport. The money doesn’t mean much, it’s all about the love and that’s more than enough. I’m still a realist and I want to be able to provide. I understand the importance of being wise with my investments and putting what I make to good use for myself and my future.
VC: Is this fight with Weichel the toughest fight of your career?
ES: I believe every fight is the toughest of my career, not to sound cliché. I’ve said that since my first amateur fight, all I’ve ever wanted to do was win. Your health, your physical well-being is on the line during a fight. I understand the extremities of what can happen in the fight. None of that intimidates me or makes me back down, it just makes me more intelligent to implement my game plan and do what’s best for me to go out and be victorious. No matter what, I’m going to go out and get my hand raised.
VC: Your last three fights have gone to Split-decision and have been very close. What can you do differently to make that margin a little wider between your opponent and yourself?
ES: I need to be there to counter more. My coach says I admire my work by staying there after my combinations. I stick and move and that works well in boxing with the shorter rounds and the lack of other avenues to win a fight. In MMA, I have to worry about the takedown and clinch, and for me, I need to get started right away in what I do. I wouldn’t say I’m a slow starter, I just say I feel my way too much and I can’t wait for that perfect opportunity. My coaches tell me I can’t sit there and wait for the perfect opportunity and admire my work after a big moment and think ‘I am winning the fight’. With close fights and opponents who are also looking to win, you have to be there [from start to finish] to put them away. I have to keep that mentality and go out and have fun. To quote Ali, ‘float like and sting like a bee.’
VC: You quoted Muhammed Ali, now I feel I need to go here. We lost two great fighters from Bellator this year as Jordan Parsons and Kimbo Slice has both passed away. Did you have any connection with either of them being in Bellator?
ES: Jordan Parsons I didn’t really know other than him being in my division, but I think he was going to move up. I’m only a month or two younger than him, so I can’t imagine a guy around my age with the same professional accolades not having life anymore. Someone’s son, nephew, brother just died. My heart is crushed by it.
Kimbo himself, I started the main card for his fight against Dada 5000 in Houston. Now, he’s gone, just like that. I actually got to speak to him in February, and now he’s gone at such a young age of 43. It really makes you think about life. That’s why I take fighting so serious and why I cherish the moment. Knowing Jordan and Kimbo as fighters, I’m sure they didn’t think that their last fight would the last one they ever fight in. That’s why I think my fights are so exciting because I treat it just like life. I don’t know if I’ll live to see my next birthday, tomorrow is never promised. If this fight is going to be my last, I’m going to cherish every moment, even this conversation I had with you. I’m going to enjoy life to the fullest.
VC: If you get two phone calls right after this, one asking if you will headline a card in Milwaukee and the other asking if you will headline in Mexico City. Which one do you take?
ES: That’s a tough one. I’d have to go with Milwaukee, the less travel the better. Any fighter would agree that the less travel, the better. If I don’t need to fly anywhere, and I can sleep in my own bed and drive or walk to the venue, then that’s a dream come true. It’s also easier for family, we would sell out the show completely with just our family and friends. Another reason, I know Bellator would put some of my teammates on the card as well. We have undercard and main card guys who are killers right now who are signed with other organizations, but I know we have guys who can make it to Bellator as well and that’s what the company would do. I know there’s a lot of guys who need to be signed and are deserving of it.
VC: What is the prediction for your fight?
ES: I’m looking to finish the fight. First round, second round, third round, doesn’t matter. I know I can submit anyone in the Featherweight division. I’m going to go out there and finish him, I’m confident in my entire MMA game and I believe I am better at every aspect of MMA. I know he’s a problem, and I have the solution for this problem.
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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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