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Kendall Grove: Nick Diaz, Training with Ortiz and more.



Bellator brings us another event in the shape of Bellator 143 in Hidalgo, TX on September 25. The co-main event of the evening will be a middleweight bout between Kendall Grove (21-15) and Joey Beltran (16-11). MMA Latest caught up with Kendall ‘Da Spyder’ Grove for an exclusive interview.

Carl Richardson: Joey Beltran has 14 KO finishes, have you changed anything for this camp, or is it a normal camp for you?

Kendall Grove: Yeah, I’ve been training with a couple of hard hitters and working on my defense, obviously. I want to take away his strong points in this fight and that’s what I’ve been focusing on. It should be a really good fight, an exciting fight. We both go for finishes, should be a good one for the fans out there.

CR: How is the camp was going?

KG: Good, good. I’ve been training with Tito (Ortiz).  Obviously I didn’t have this fight when I came up to help Tito with his fight, and then I got it about 5 days after being up here, so, good man. I’ve been training with a guy who’s getting ready for the world title. My condition is on point. I’ve been training for 5 rounds but pushing a little harder even though I’ve got 3 rounds. I feel like I can go pretty hard for 3 rounds, you know and still have the gas, and good wrestling defense, obviously I know Beltran ain’t gonna take me down, but it’s still good for my hips. Also getting my training with my coaches at misfits at Westminster with Brady Fink, and Michael Bisping has been helping me out a lot, and sparring with those guys, working on my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu, and like I said before, I’ve been working with one of the greatest Light heavyweights of all-time, Tito Ortiz, so I’m ready.  

CR: Your last fight was the main event and this next is the co-main event. Being so high up on the card, does it increase the pressure or does it matter whether it’s the first prelim?  Do you just go into each fight with the same attitude?

KG: I wish I was fighting sooner. Because, obviously waiting there, sitting there, warming up, resting, not expecting a fight to go the distance, and some fights will go fast, so it’s kinda hard. Not hard, but that’s just the way the sport is. But I’m definitely happy it’s the co-main event instead of having to wait ’till last, but a fight’s a fight you know, regardless of whether it’s the main event or first in the prelims, we are going to mix it up, go out there and take each other’s head off and put on a good show for all the MMA fans out there. That’s all we can do. It’s our jobs, go out there and live it.

CR: Tito is facing Liam McGeary at Dynamite 1 on the 19th of September, it’s a different concept from normal MMA shows.  What do you think of the concept and are there any other fights apart from Tito’s you’re looking forward to?

KG: The tournament obviously. I can’t wait to see Paul Daley fight.  But we know it’s an odd concept, but will see if it works. But obviously if it doesn’t work too good then that will be the first and last. But if it goes good, we will see a lot more hybrid shows like that, and I think it will work. It can be hard, but I think it will work. I mean with the tournament you have four of the best Light Heavyweights in Bellator, and the winner of the tournament gets the champ.

CR: I was reading a forum and I found a statement saying that the middleweight division in Bellator is crashing, with the belt being dropped, and the number #1 contender going up to the UFC.  Do you agree with that statement, or does it put more emphasis on the remaining fighters to step up?

KG: Yeah it has definitely cost us, but Bellator is building, obviously the UFC is the UFC. Companies aren’t just going to sprout out and compete with the UFC.  That’s what a lot of these marks (I mean UFC fans) don’t understand that live and die by the UFC. What are we meant to do, shrivel up and die because we got cut from the UFC? We are still fighters, we are going to fight.  I just thank god for Bellator, ONE FC, JSW, all these other companies that are giving us a home to fight.  But yeah definitely our division is taking a beating, but we got the strongest division. But take baby steps homie, give us a year and we are going to be solid.  Look at all the signings Scott Coker has been doing with the other divisions and when the opportunity comes to swoop for another 85-pounder we are going to do it. Until that time, we are going to make do with what we have.

CR: What’s your take on the Nick Diaz five-year suspension?

KG: It’s bullshit and 80% of the MMA community thinks it’s bullshit too. It’s wrong. You have people pissing positive for PED’s, multiple PED’s, getting 1 year, getting 2 years, fucking Jon Bones Jones getting done for cocaine. You know cocaine is a hell of a drug…and a hit and run, and he gets nothing.  I mean we are all human, we all got flaws but come on dude. He gets a death sentence for fucking smoking pot? It’s just ridiculous. I think it’s going to be the tipping point for us as a community, as MMA fighters, it’s like, ‘stop shitting on us!’ I bet you thought it was f***ed up! But it’s like, ‘yeah you broke the rules, you should be fined, you should be punished, but like not send the guy to federal prison for shoplifting.’ That’s basically it. It’s like dealing out a death sentence for stealing a candy bar.  But why him? Because he’s not afraid to stand up for himself? He’s not afraid to voice his opinion? It’s just bullshit. It’s just pot. Like, what the fuck. It just sucks that he has to go through this.

Kendall Grove fights Joey Beltran at Bellator 143 on 25th of September, and it will be live on Spike.


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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.


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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.

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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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