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Opponent named for Brandon Farran’s Bellator Debut



One of West Texas’ own and veteran of over 20 MMA bouts, Brandon Farran will make his Bellator Debut on February 26th at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvanve, Kansas at Bellator 151 against another fighter making his Bellator Debut, as well as his U.S. Debut, France’s Gregory “Blade” Babane.

Farran of Abilene, TX made the announcement via his personal Facebook account Monday afternoon:

Farran was recently interviewed on local ESPN affiliate, Lubbock Sports Station Double T 97.3 FM, home of West Texas’ Only Live Boxing and MMA Show The Main Event.

You have competed everywhere from 170 lbs to 205 lbs. What weight will you be competing at for Bellator?

“This next fight is going to be at middleweight, after that I will be going back up to light heavyweight”

One of the biggest wins of your career was when you won the vacant Best of the Best Middleweight Title and handed Legacy FC’s Ryan Spann his first loss. What did that win mean to your career?

“You know what man, that victory was really good. A lot of people had started to doubt me because I had taken a little break in my career. So coming back and fighting a guy like that, who didn’t have any losses…[Spann’s] a beast you know, a six five guy, very athletic, kind of reminds me of Jon Jones, but to win that title, that meant the world to me man. Those guys over there at JC Promotions do a nice little thing where they do a $50,000 contract, so you get paid monthly. So when I won that title I was getting paid monthly, even when I wasn’t fighting. That was definitely nice. It turns it into a career instead of a job.”

You definitely have a better speaking ability and more charisma than a lot of other local fighters. Do you think that has helped you to get to this point in your career where you have signed with Bellator? Did that give you an advantage over guys that don’t have that “personality” factor going for them?

“Yeah I think that is exactly what it is. For instance there’s a lot of guys out there that are undefeated that you will never know of because they don’t speak well, they don’t do well in public, they don’t like being around people and they just don’t interact with the crowd. They walk straight to the cage, they fight, they walk back to the locker room and leave. Me, I like to be out there and market myself. That is the name of this game. If you really want to make it big and make some real money in this game you have to market yourself. You have to have marketability. That is why you hear more about guys like Conor McGregor. How many times have you heard Rafael Dos Anjos before he started getting into it with Conor McGregor.”

There has been a lot of injuries causing guys to pull out of high profile fights lately like Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. Cain pulled out first, then Werdum pulled out after Stipe Miocic was announced as his new opponent. Sage Northcutt fought a couple weeks ago when he was reportedly pretty sick with strep throat. Another guy that you actually fought, Mike Bronzoulis pulled out of his Bellator fight against Melvin Guillard allowing Lubbock’s Derek Campos to get a place on that card. How do you feel about fighting injured or sick? When do you need to pull out, when should you not pull out?

“I think the only reason to pull out is if you have a major break. I have fought with a broken nose. As you can tell right now, I am actually going through a little bit of strep myself. Pulling out for strep to me is a joke. That’s laughable. I would never pull out for that. There is no fighter out there that has ever stepped in the cage if he went through a good training camp at 100%, there is just no way, you can’t do it. You can’t push your body to the limit and then expect to step into the cage at 100%. When you’re cutting weight, when you’re sparring that much, it is just not going to happen. But at the same time you are increasing your percentages by training that hard, so even though you are not at 100%, you’re at a higher percentage than you were you started that camp and guys need to go in there and do their job man. It’s a fight. The other guy is the same way. The other guys just don’t talk about it you know. They just make excuses. There is no fighter out there that fights at 100%. You just can’t do it, unless you just don’t train…Strep throat? Really? That trips me out. He might as well say he lost because they didn’t allow him to put gel in his hair…that’s about the same thing”

You had a tough fight that was really close with one of our local guys, Eric “Bighead” Davila at the Genesis Combat Sports 3 show here in Lubbock last April. Tell us a little about what it was like to fight “Bighead.”

“It was fun fighting “Bighead.” He is a great guy. We still talk to this day. That fight was rough man, I broke my foot in the second round and I had to push through it. I had to push through it and try to win. He got the take downs and he secured the victory. Props to him, that was a fun fight. I would love to do it again. We are both in the same boat. It is hard for us to find fights locally. The only place to go is to the big leagues, where people have to fight you because they’re contracted. Being in a division with fewer local fighters, guys pull out.”

Brandon Farran is sponsored by Whitehead Heating and Cooling and Kent Beck Motors. He owns the “Infinitely Strong” gym in Abilene, TX and is affiliated with Future Fitness Fight Team.

You can listen to the interview in it’s entirety here (the interview starts at the 8:50 mark):

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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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