Bubba “The Highlight Kid” Jenkins (9-2) is a rising star and considered by many to be the “next big thing” in Bellator’s 145 lb weight class. He’s set to face off against another rising star in Jordan Parsons at Bellator 146 on November 20th, 2015. I got the chance to talk to him ahead of his fight and found out that his personality is every bit as big as his talent.
Jenkins is a frequent guest on the MMA Roasted podcast and was on when the show had his opponent, Jordan Parsons, call in for a “press conference call”. Things got pretty testy between the two and it was fairly obvious that neither man is really a big fan of the other. When I asked him about being called out by Parsons and the confrontation on the podcast, Jenkins didn’t mince words,
“I’m gonna knock his head off! Nah, I’m just joking with you man. Obviously he wants that shot at the title so he’s gonna call out anybody who’s above him and I’m clearly above him and I will continue to stay above him. I don’t look down, I’m climbing a mountain, I only look up to see how much further I have to go. So the fact that he’s nipping at my foot just makes me want to stomp on him more.”
Jenkins followed up those strong words with another big statement.
“I’m gonna give him a reality check after I beat him up, break some of his ribs, whether I can knock him out in the 1st or 2nd round I plan to do it in the 3rd. I want to demoralize him, I want to humiliate him. And that’s not because he’s gotten under my skin, it’s because I know that I’m that much better than him. I really want to hurt him more than I want to win. I’m obviously focused on the win because it gives me a way to provide for my family and positions me better with Bellator for a shot at the title, but I really wanna punish this guy. I can be calm about it now but when I get in that cage and they lock that door, I’m gonna turn animalistic on him.”
During the podcast, Jenkins actually showed off another talent when he broke out a freestyle rap on Parsons. When I asked him if it was something that he just came up with while the podcast was going on, he said,
“I’m pretty sporadic like that, my whole life has been a track. I’m basically just trying to stay on beat and go with the rhythm and flow of what’s going on around me. At the time I thought I needed to give him some bars so I gave him some bars. I even went into a little bit of a country accent with him just to kind of let him know. I’m not like anyone you’ve ever fought, I’m not like anyone you’ve ever talked to so you might think you know what’s going on but you’re really clueless, you’re in the dark.”
He seemed really relaxed and laid back, that attitude seems to be owed a lot to a good weight cut and good camp.
“The weight has come off very easily, the weight cut has been beautiful. I’m focused and ready on this fight. I’m in Long Beach with Antonio McKee. I’m at Bodyshop, where a couple guys from Bellator are like Emanuel Newton. I’m with a really great coach who knows a lot about the sport. So I’m really excited about what we’re gonna bring to this fight because he’s got so much experience.”
During the podcast, Parsons had said that Jenkins has no ground game, despite the fact that Jenkins is an Division 1 Nation Champion wrestler. I asked Jenkins what he thought of the comment and if that would play into his game plan going into the fight at all.
“I don’t have a game plan, my plan is to get the win and beat him up. Getting the win is part of it but I wanna hurt him. I plan to drop bombs and elbows all over him. I don’t believe that he can stick up to that, he hasn’t been in a fight with a person like me and he doesn’t know what he’s in for, especially with his delusional I don’t have a ground game talk.”
Jenkins is known in the MMA world as “The Highlight Kid”, but he also has another, slightly more unusual nickname. He laughed and explained where the nickname “The Unicorn Slayer” originated.
“It came from my college days, me beating David Taylor and beating a lot of the unbeatable guys. I beat 9 different national champions. They called me the unicorn slayer because a unicorn is a magnificent creature that can’t be captured and I just kept beating these ‘unicorns’ in the sport. Whenever I get a new nickname it’s definitely something to be proud of and something I’m looking forward to.”
It’s apparent from watching his fights that Jenkins certainly has the talent to be a top fighter in the division and my short conversation with him showed me that he absolutely has the personality to be the face of a weight class and an organization in general. Be sure to tune in to Bellator 146 to see if “The Highlight Kid/The Unicorn Slayer” can earn himself another nickname.
Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes
Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.
Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).
In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.
Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”
In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.
This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video
Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.
The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.
Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)
Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.
RN: 265 lb.
MM: 255 lb.
Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.
PF: 155 lb.
DC: 154 lb.
Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.
HH: 126.25 lb*
AJ: 125 lb.
Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.
LM: 203.75 lb.
VN: 205 lb.
Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.
TW: 145 lb.
JS: 142.25 lb.
Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)
Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
RS: 155.5 lb.
RL: 156 lb.
Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout.
MK: 135.75 lb.
GT: 135 lb.
Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.
RC: 145 lb.
TE: 146 lb.
Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.
JT: 205.5 lb.
WH: 203 lb.
Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.
MS: 156 lb.
DH: 155.25 lb.
Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.
PN: 163.5 lb.
KX 164.5 lb.
Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.
TH: 154 lb.
PC: 155.5 lb.
*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.
Exclusive: Saad Awad looking for the quick knockout at Bellator 193
Saad Awad makes his return to the Bellator cage Friday as he takes on JJ Ambrose.
The veteran Awad has been with Bellator since 2013, amassing a 9-5 record in the process, with five of those wins coming via knockout. Impressive wins against Will Brooks and Evangelista Santos feature on his 21-9 record.
The heavy-handed striker gets to fight in his backyard of California for the first time in over a year. A native of San Bernardino, Awad is fighting only forty-five minutes from his home, in the co-main event no less.
“It’s great,” Awad told MMA Latest about co-main eventing in California. “I’m about forty-five minutes from my house, the arena sold out the week they released the tickets. So I know a lot of people are going to be here and the energy’s going to be really good, it’s going to be great, and it’s going to help me mentally.”
Meeting Awad in the co-main is a fellow California native himself, JJ Ambrose. Ambrose has been fighting since 2005 and has amassed 26 wins in his 13-year career.
“He’s a veteran, he kind of flew under the radar,” Awad said. “He’s fought all over the place. I think he brings a lot of experience, a good solid stand-up, and ground game, and wrestling.”
Although Awad highlighted Ambrose’s quality, make no mistake, the “Assassin” believes he holds all the advantages.
“I match-up with him great, to be honest, I think my striking is a little bit better, I think I hit a lot harder and my jiu-jitsu’s going to be a bit better, and I’m going to be able to outwrestle him,” Awad explained. “So I think stylistically it’s a bad matchup for him.”
Awad is coming off of a quick KO, one minute, seven seconds, over Zach Freeman. The quick win didn’t come as a surprise to Awad as he always expects to finish his opponents quickly.
“I mean, not be cocky, but I expect to get a quick KO against everybody,” Awad said. “When I don’t get a quick KO then I’m like ‘okay something’s wrong’ so then I have to change my gameplan up. So nothing against Zach Freeman, I mean, every fight I go in there looking for the quick knockout.”
Currently, on a solid two-fight winning streak, Awad highlights what exactly the key’s been for him to get this far.
“Honestly, I’ve just been training a lot,” Awad said. “I’ve just been training and focusing a lot on little details that I knew were my flaws, and every fight I’ll keep something new. If I see something go wrong in one of my fights, I’ll tweak that out and train it and get a little bit better and then just try and keep improving.”
With a win taking Awad to three victories in a row, it would make sense to offer the veteran a big fight. But Awad doesn’t have a name in mind next, although he doesn’t believe it would matter anyway.
“Whoever they give me,” Awad said. “I can ask for fights but they won’t give them to me. “My only thing is trying to get a title fight, I’m not even going to ask for that anymore. I’m going to ask them to keep me busy. I just want to stay busy. I get paid the same no matter who I fight so as long as they keep me busy, that’s what I’m happy for.”
As for 2018, Awad’s goals remain simple.
“Keep winning,” Awad said. “Stay busy and keep winning.”
If things go the way Awad expects, fans are in for a treat. As for Ambrose? Not so much.
“I’m going to go in there and leave with a knockout, a violent knockout,” Awad said. “Get my hand raised, talk some shit, and leave.”
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