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Exclusive Interview With Daniel Straus: “He will go to sleep”

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Former Bellator Featherweight champion Daniel Straus is getting his second chance at reigning champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 145 and he is more than ready for the opportunity. I got the chance to speak to Straus ahead of his November 6th bout for the title.

I spoke with Straus’s opponent, Patricio Freire, earlier in the week and he commented about the fouls that had happened in their last fight back in January. Freire had said that he didn’t believe the fouls were intentional but that he hoped that Straus came to fight clean this time. When I mentioned those comments to Straus he didn’t mince words, saying,

“For him to say something like he hopes I come to fight clean means he thinks I had intention. No, I never had intentions, it’s part of the fight game, it happens. On top of that you gotta understand that a lot of the fouls he called weren’t really fouls. The rules state that if I throw a punch and you move and get hit then it’s not my fault that you got hit in the back of the head. As for as the nut kicks, it happens, it wasn’t intentional.”

“I don’t care what the kid has to say, I mean, I don’t want to be disrespectful, but f*** him. I can’t tell you how many times in a fight that I’ve actually been head-butted, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit in the balls. I know it’s happened, but I fight on, you keep fighting on. Sometimes you’re gonna clash heads, sometimes you’re gonna duck a punch and get hit in the back of the head, but you can’t just run around calling fouls every time you get punched. If that’s the case, then go play chess or something, this isn’t the sport for you. Sorry for his luck, but nothing was intentional or done with ill will.”

“I’m gonna fight the same way I’ve been fighting and I’m not gonna take anything off of it just because he was hurt. That’s not how this game goes, I’m not gonna please him, this game isn’t about pleasing him, it’s about f***ing fighting and that’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna fight.”

Realizing that I had gotten Straus fairly fired up, I asked him about his plans for this fight, before I could even finish the question, Straus was laying out exactly what he planned to do.

“I’m looking to knock his chin off. I’m coming to put him on his ass again, hurt him extremely bad and finish the job. I’m not looking to play pity pats or dance with him or win by points or any of that nonsense. I just want to win this fight and do it the way everyone sees me doing it and the way I know I can do it.”

When I brought up the fact that this will be the 2nd fight between the 2 this year, Straus didn’t seem to feel that it would play a factor.

“Nah, none at all. he’s a talented guy to fix his little mistakes, I’m a talented enough guy to fix my little mistakes. So every time we fight it’s gonna be different, it may not be drastically different but it’s gonna be different. You just can’t come in and say welp let me go back to the same way I fought the first fight.”

Straus’s opponent has been engaged in a war of words with Georgi Karakhanyan over the past few months and, while Freire himself has said he’s focused on Straus, others have suggested that he may be looking past him to a potential fight with Karakhanyan. When I asked Straus if he thought the champion was looking past him I seemed to have gotten him fired up all over again.

“I’m sure he is, I think Georgi has his own fight lined up and he’s gotta get through that.”

“There’s a couple guys in the 145 division that I consider myself friends with. I know these guys and watched them for years fighting, I’m also a fan of these guys. We root for each other. If he wants to look past me because of something that was said then that just shows his mentality. Over here in America, that sh*t doesn’t f***ing matter. This kid just frustrates the sh*t out of me, even talking about him. He’s just so…my God. I don’t know man, if he wants to look past me then that’s fine, people have looked past me for years and if that’s what he wants to do then that’s fine.”

“There’s not one guy in fighting that doesn’t have a fighting chance. If you’re looking past somebody then you’re not the smartest of the bunch.”

Straus trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida which is widely considered one of the best fight camps in the world. I asked if he had anyone in particular that he had been sparring or training with to help him get ready for this fight. His answer showed a nice outlook on not only this camp but on MMA training as a whole.

“There’s a of couple guys who’s names aren’t really out there yet that kind of emulate his style. I’ve been wrestling with Robert Whiteford who’s up in the UFC, Dustin Poirier who’s also in the UFC, me and Will (Brooks) have been striking a bit. I’ve been mixing it up with the whole team. I owe it to not just myself but to my teammates. This is a team effort, everybody’s helped me get here, everybody’s helped me win this belt. Yeah, I’m walking in there by myself but it takes the whole team to build me to that level.”

As the interview ended, I mentioned that from how fired up he got I could only imagine that this fight is either going to be a five-round war or someone is going to sleep. Straus responded by simply saying

“Oh, he’s going to sleep”

With how focused and fired up he got just from talking about the fight, I can only imagine what Daniel Straus has planned when he steps into the cage on November 6th at Bellator 145. Be sure to tune in to watch two of the best featherweight fighters on the planet go to war for the championship.

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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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