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Jordan Parsons: Not Just a Pretty Face

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Pretty Boy isn’t a nickname you normally associate with fighters, but that’s the moniker that Jordan Parsons of Bellator has embraced in his career. With a record of 11-1, and a 2-0 record in Bellator with finishes in both fights, he’s managed to earn that nickname by dictating his fights and making sure his face isn’t on the receiving end of a whole lot of punishment. He’ll be looking to extend his 4 fight win streak at Bellator 146 when he steps into the cage against fellow rising star featherweight Bubba Jenkins. I had the opportunity to speak to Parsons about his upcoming fight and the animosity that’s been evident between himself and his opponent.

Parsons was actually the one to call out Bubba Jenkins, commenting on Jenkins’ social media in an apparent attempt to get a rise out of his fellow featherweight. When I asked him why he called out Jenkins, Parsons made it pretty clear that he’s not going to be buying a ticket for the Bubba Jenkins hype train anytime soon.

“He’s a beatable guy with a name. So I figured if I could get his attention then he can go ahead and let Bellator know that he wants to fight me. I figure that’s the quickest route, the easiest and look where we sit today, it worked out pretty well for me. I don’t really think Bubba Jenkins is that great of a fighter. He’s a decent athlete and he was a good wrestler but do you see him as a world champion? I don’t. He had a shot and he double-legged into a guillotine. I can already tell he gets a little scared when he gets out there, he doesn’t like to get hit. I hate losing and I love to hurt people so it goes hand in hand for me.”

On an episode of the MMA Roasted podcast, where Jenkins is a co-host, Parsons called in and was asked some questions about their upcoming fight. Things got fairly heated and one comment that stood out was when Parsons told Jenkins “You don’t have a ground game.” Jenkins, a former NCAA Division 1 National Champion, took exception to this and the comment did seem curious to me so I asked Parsons to clarify what he meant.

“We’re talking about MMA not just straight wrestling. His top game is super basic and underneath I don’t think he has anything. I think his BJJ game as a whole is kind of trash. He’s just one of those wrestlers that wants to get ahold of you and hold you down. I don’t think he has anything for me on the ground. What’s wrestling in MMA? It’s a transition. He has 7 finishes but who has he finished that has any kind of reputation? He had 1 opportunity against Georgi Karakhanyan and he lost to him. And who has he beat after that? Joe Wilk? Joe Wilk is like 14-18 or something or vice versa? He’s a journeyman. I’m out here to beat the best. He’s 9-2 we’re gonna go ahead and knock that down to 9-3. They told me with the 30-0 dude that he was gonna win and be 31-0. He even said he was gonna finish me on the ground and it didn’t happen. He gave me everything he had and it wasn’t enough and he broke and he quit.”

The “30-0 guy” that Parsons was referring to is Julio Cesar Neves Jr who Parsons fought at Bellator 137. Cesar Neves entered the fight at 30-0 and was adamant that Parsons wouldn’t present much of a challenge. Parsons submitted the Brazilian fighter with an arm-triangle in the 3rd round.

With featherweight being such a stacked division, I asked Parsons where he would rank himself in the 145 lb weight class. He had an interesting outlook on the whole concept of rankings.

“I don’t like to rank myself. I like to just take on the toughest people I can find and then I take theirs. I beat Bubba and then I’m an NCAA national champ, especially after I take him down. Everyone is good until they fight me. I can’t say unless I fight you. I want to be the best, I want to fight tough people, I want to be the best. If you want to take the easy road then I’m not the fight you’re looking for.”

Though he’s now fighting at featherweight (145 lbs), Parsons has fought at lightweight (155 lbs) in the past. When I asked him if he saw himself ever going back to 155, he wouldn’t rule it out, even if he didn’t see it in his immediate future.

“We’ll see, I’ll do featherweight as long as I can. When I get done doing what I want to do in this weight class then I can possibly move on. I’m getting older, I’m getting bigger as time goes on. We’ll see how long my body allows it and when it tells me enough’s enough then we’ll move forward from there but I don’t think about that, I just think about getting all the wins that I can.”

As our interview came to an end, I asked Parsons if he had a particular gameplan going into his fight on November 20th. His response left little doubt on how exactly he sees this fight playing out.

“I don’t think it matters, I’m gonna go out there and impose my will and do what I always do. I aim to break people one way or the other. We know what he’s coming to the table with but I don’t think he knows what I’m coming with. I think he acts confident in public but when he’s laying in his bed at night he’s thinking ‘man, I have to fight this guy. I’ve said so much I have to live up to that word.

“They put up a commercial this weekend and I was kind of offended, they said Bubba Jenkins is coming to make some noise in the featherweight division and I’m like ‘what do you mean?’, Bellator kind of talking like I ain’t nobody out here and I don’t like that we’re gonna have to change that around. I’m here to make a statement and it’s gonna be a serious one.”

One thing is for sure, Jordan Parsons has been overlooked by some opponents in the past and he made them pay for it. Tune in to Bellator 146 on Friday November 20th to see if “Pretty Boy” makes Bellator think twice before they leave him out of their next commercial.

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Bellator: Selecting the Four Alternates for the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

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With an 8-man tournament bracket full of legends and former champions, join us as we chose four alternates for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Main Tournament Participants:

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Frank Mir
  • Chael Sonnen
  • Quinton Jackson
  • Roy Nelson
  • Matt Mitrione
  • Ryan Bader
  • King Mo Lawal

The alternate tournament bracket will consist of: two opening round fights (semi-final), and then two victorious fighters competing against one another at the finale (final). This will determine a worthy contender to step into the main tournament bracket, in case any of the main bracket fighters are injured in their semi-final bouts.

If a pull-out or injury occurs before the opening bouts, I believe Bellator have to select the most decorated fighter, and a natural heavyweight fighter. So in case of a pull-out occurring before the opening round, I would select my #1 alternate, and so on for any more opening pull-outs.

This structure covers all bases, and keeps the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament intense and prestigious.

So with the structure laid out, here is our selected alternate fighters.

  • #1: Vitaly Minakov
  • #2: Linton Vassell
  • #3: Attilah Vegh
  • #4: Emanuel Newton

Alternate Opening Round [Semi-Final]:

  • Bout 1: #1 Vs. #3
  • Bout 2: #2 Vs. #4

Alternate Final:

  • Victor of Bout #1/#3 Vs. Victor of Bout #2 Vs. #4

Linton Vassell vs. Emanuel Newton would be a trilogy that needs to be completed. Linton dominated on the ground for the most part of their first bout, but felt he gave up positions he felt he could have held longer, and took needless transitions and risks; allowing for a very sneaky Emanuel Newton to escape the clutches of ‘The Swarm’, and when the gas tank begins to empty – a scrambling Emanuel Newton is not what you want!

Fighter bios:

Vitaly Minakov: A former Bellator tournament winner, and former Bellator heavyweight champion. A Judo black belt, and multi time Sambo world champion, there’s no denying this man’s resume as one of the best put forth out of these 4 fighters.

Linton Vassell: A man who really lives up to the moniker – ‘The Swarm’, Linton Vassell has dominated and dispatched various opponents Bellator have put across from him. Having fallen short in two title fights, and a close decision loss to King Mo, Linton has shown that he’s there with the best Bellator has to offer, maybe the Heavyweight Grand Prix might see the dark-horse finally come into the lime-light! Currently contracted to Bellator with a 7-3 record for the promotion.

If you would like to follow the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, you can check out the opening round bouts on the following Bellator MMA events:

Emanuel Newton: Already holding two victories over King Mo, who’s allocated in this Heavyweight main tournament bracket – that alone is just cause to enter Emanuel. An exciting and unpredictable entry this would be. Bellator parted ways with Emanuel in 2016. Currently, Newton is not on the best of runs, but this tournament needs a ‘wild-card’, and Emanuel owns that title.

Attilah Vegh: A former Bellator LHW champion. Not currently signed to Bellator. Was strangely released in 2014 after having a record of 5-1 with the promotion, and some victories over some very reputable names. Currently on a 2 fight win-streak outside of Bellator MMA.

If you would like to follow the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, you can check out the opening round bouts on the following Bellator MMA events:

 

Bellator 192 at The Forum – Jan. 20, 2018: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-12) vs. Chael Sonnen (30-15-1)
Bellator 194 at Mohegan Sun Arena – Feb. 16, 2018: Matt Mitrione (12-5) vs. Roy Nelson (23-14)
Bellator at Allstate Arena – April, 2018: Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC) vs. Frank Mir (18-11)
Bellator at SAP Center – May, 2018: Ryan Bader (24-5) vs. “King Mo” Lawal (21-6, 1 NC)

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Exclusive: Hisaki Kato: “My priorities are in MMA”

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French-Japanese middleweight Hasaki Kato returns to the Bellator cage Friday as he takes on former welterweight Chidi “Bang Bang” Njokuani. Ahead of the high-level striking match-up, Kato took the time out of his busy schedule to speak with MMA Latest.

Rangy striker Njokuani makes his middleweight debut Friday as he looks to erase his loss to Andrey Koreshkov from recent memory. It isn’t lost on Kato just how tall and lanky the 6’3 striker truly is. “Well he’s very tall,” Kato tells MMA Latest. “He was a welterweight but even for a middleweight he’s really tall he’s like 6’2, 6’3 taller than me, longer reach than me. Obviously, I was watching his fights, he’s fighting with range and using his reach to fight so that’s his number one weapon.”

In Njokuani’s last fight, Koreshkov, the former welterweight champion, held Njokuani down and elbowed him until the ref stepped in. So what exactly went wrong in the fight? “Well, first I think Koreshkov is really, really strong,” Kato explains. “Chidi Njokuani normally escapes the ground part or at least he’s on top of his opponent. But Koreshkov has good pressure and good grappling and he could take the top position. Obviously, Njokuani is not comfortable when he is on the bottom. So yeah, I think he couldn’t play his game during the last fight because Koreshkov was putting too much pressure on him.”

Former UFC fighter, Gegard Mousasi, recently made his debut against Alexander Shlemenko back in October. The Dutchman had a tough debut that resulted in a controversial decision win, Kato weighed in on whether or not he’s eyeing a fight with him and what he thought of his Bellator debut. “If I have an offer I will fight him,” he says without any particular enthusiasm. “I will fight everybody in the division. Yeah, for the last fight, well, I think luckily for him it was a three-round fight. I think if it was a five round fight the victory would have gone to Shlemenko. I don’t know maybe he had a bad camp, I don’t know but he was doing terrible.”

Kato also believes a title shot isn’t far away. “I believe I’m really close to that (a title shot),” he says. “After the win, after the Gracie fight, even if it was a decision win, the Gracie is a big family name so I was expecting a title fight. I didn’t have it so I guess if I win this time I have a good chance to have it.”

Whatever you do, don’t expect to see Kato back in a kickboxing ring anytime soon. Does it interest him to return? “Not really,” Kato replies after giving the question some thought. “If the offer is good then why not, for now, I feel more comfortable in MMA so my focus, my priorities, are in MMA.”

Many fans were very disappointed with the way his last fight turned out. Paired up against jiu-jitsu fighter, Ralek Gracie, Kato ended up going to the judges for the first time in his career. “Yeah the fight itself was really frustrating,” Kato admits. “I couldn’t do what I wanted and after two rounds, I knew I had done enough to win, and I knew he would push more. So I decided ‘yeah ok then it’s going to a decision’ but at the very least I had to win that fight.  That’s why I didn’t take too many risks in the third round. During the first and the second, I really wanted to end that fight like I always try but I couldn’t do it.”

So why hasn’t Kato fought since January? “I had an offer in September,” he says. “But I got injured during the training and had to go into surgery, and after the surgery, the process is really long to recover so that’s why.”

So what does Kato predict for the fight? “Obviously his nickname is ‘Bang’ you know, he likes to fight and that’s all I like doing too,” Kato laughs. “I’m really thinking about having a big knockout with my hands.”

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Exclusive: Fernando Gonzalez talks Paul Daley and Michael Page fights

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Long-time Bellator welterweight contender, Fernando Gonzalez, has made a career out of fighting the best fighters his promotion had to offer. The always tough Californian has displayed this willingness to fight the best when he took on Paul Daley in a kickboxing match and when he took on Michael ‘Venom’ Page, in what was supposed to be Page’s coming out fight.

The kickboxing match with Daley happened back in 2015 at “Bellator MMA and Glory: Dynamite 1” in an event that featured both Glory kickboxing as well as its fair share of intriguing Bellator MMA fights. Gonzalez would go on to lose the fight in what many fans called a ‘lackluster’ contest. Speaking to MMA Latest, Gonzalez was asked if he had any interest in returning to the kickboxing ring and why he participated in Glory kickboxing.

“No. Honestly, that kickboxing match was more just to get Daley; because they kept trying to give him to me on short notice and one was on an injury,” Gonzalez told MMA Latest. “So I was like, ‘no I don’t want to give him an easy win’, but the only thing they came up with was that kickboxing match in that time. So ever since that fight, I was like ‘listen dude lets do this MMA’. I’m an MMA guy, I know how to kickbox and I’m good with it but I prefer MMA. I love doing MMA. I don’t like to have too many rules put on me. I like being able to go out there and flow freely. Honestly, I want Daley in an MMA fight so he gets the real fight.”

Gonzalez’ fight with Michael Page was booked as the veteran getting fed to the younger up and coming contender. The fight was Page’s opportunity to add another highlight reel knockout to his collection. Obviously, someone forgot to tell Gonzalez. Gonzalez went out and made sure he never gave Page any openings, unfortunately, he would go on to lose the fight by split decision. Fernando explains what went wrong in his only Bellator loss.

Honestly the only thing that went wrong in the fight is how people viewed the fight”, Gonzalez explains. “If you really look at the fight he really didn’t land anything. The whole first round they’re talking him up, how he’s dancing and how it’s putting me into a lullaby and this and that. I was never in danger. He was not throwing a single punch. This is MMA, you cant just take on the fight with one style, you have to fight different styles for different people. If it was just boxing, you would fight a boxer just one way realistically, but Michael Page has the karate style. So you have to come up with a different formula if you’re going to fight somebody like that.”

“So my style with him, I knew that he’s used to everybody rushing him and trying to take him down. I’m a striker so I don’t mind striking. If I’m not in danger then I’m going to keep it striking. So what I did was I circled, I kept him at arm’s length, so he constantly had to throw long arms where he’s having to reach out and grab you. He’s throwing those arms out, that makes him have to basically hold his arms out a lot longer than he’s used to. He’s used to guys rushing in on him. So with me playing that outside game, obviously my legs are a lot longer than my arms, so I had to throw a lot more kicks, there was a lot of head kicks to take away his power-punch where he leaps in. By doing that, that made him work a lot longer in the second and third round where he’s normally finishing guys. By that third round, he was completely exhausted and couldn’t throw. He said his timing was off and this and that, but he was just exhausted. I had already gassed him out and he had just enough to stay away from me.”

“Really it’s just how you see the fight. They automatically assumed I had to take him down to win and that’s not necessarily true. If I’m not in danger, and I’m landing kicks, and I’m landing good shots, and he’s hitting my arms. Realistically most of the shots he landed were on my arms and that really doesn’t count. So it’s really just how you see it and that’s why one judge had it 30-27. It’s just how you’re seeing the fight. If you’re a striker you would know what you’re looking at, but if you’re a ground guy, of course, you’re going to say ‘oh I got to get it to the ground’ which is what the commentators were; two ground guys talking about what I should’ve done.”

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