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Phil Davis is Excited to introduce himself to Bellator Fans in Historic One Night Tournament

Brice Schroeder

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Phil Davis is a consensus top 10 light heavy-weight in the world according to the MMA media and is about to make his promotional debut with Bellator this Saturday night in very unusual fashion.  He will be taking part in a historic one night tournament featuring 4 of the best 205 pound fighters Bellator has to offer.  I had the opportunity to speak to Phil Davis, where he touched on a wide variety of topics starting with how his training has been going and what he does to round out the end of his camp.

“Oh it’s going good man, it’s going great.  This is for sure one of those fights were you want to get to the fight feeling good and you want to go in as healthy as possible.  I feel like we are doing a good job of that.  I have a great team around me to prepare for this one.  As far as finishing my camp, it’s all about sharpening your tools a making sure you are a 100% dialed in.  It is a lot of repetition and drilling.”

Not many fighters can say they have fought for the top two mixed martial arts promotions in the world, but Phil will be doing just that when he makes his Bellator debut on Saturday.  He touched on how excited he was to do just that.

“I’m super excited!  Just being in a new promotion alone doesn’t get you fired up, it’s this event.  It’s like, knock your socks off awesome.  Bellator, Scott Coker, and all the guys at Viacom have completely raised the bar with this event and I can’t wait to take part in it.  I can’t wait to finish my fights just so I can just look around.  There are going to be so many great fighters there, I don’t know if I’ve ever been around that many fighters at one event before.”

Not only is Davis making his Bellator debut, he is doing so in the first ever Bellator one night tournament.  I asked Phil if there was any hesitation on his part to participate in such a grueling event.

“I didn’t give much thought to it, I was an emphatic yes.  I’m all in, but I’m one of those people when the next day rolled around I was like oh Jesus what did I just say yes to?  Maybe I should hear more about this thing, but I am all in and can’t wait.”

Phil drew former Bellator champ Manuel Newton in his first round matchup of the tournament.  He spoke on what Newton brings to the table and how Phil plans to combat those skills,

“The biggest thing is he is very unpredictable and moves very light on his feet.  You just have to be patient.  You don’t have to go in and chase him around the cage or do something big and crazy.  Just stay at home and stay focus and concentrate on your techniques.”

Being the betting favorite and the new guy from the UFC can bring a lot of added pressure to a fighter.  None of that seems to bother Phil all that much though.

“Anytime I go against somebody It is not a matter of look what I have to lose, it’s look what I have to gain.  I don’t feel the pressure of being the favorite or this and that and fighting in a new promotion or any of that.  Man I’m just excited to introduce myself to Bellator fans and do so in exciting fashion and really draw people into the sport of mixed martial arts and my new home on Spike.”

Preparing to fight two fights in a single night can be hard to fathom.  When I brought the subject up to Phil he echoed those same thoughts.

“Aw man I don’t even know.  I think you just get into a car accident and then 10 minutes later you just do it again and see how you feel.  That’s the best answer I can give you.  I mean it’s so hard to prepare for one fight, it’s the hardest thing I ever have to do, but doing it twice in one night? I mean come-on you don’t prepare for two fights in a night.  You just train for one fight and after you get your hand raised you just tough it out and do it again.  I really can’t say what to do to simulate two fights in one night.”

The other semifinal bout features Muhammed Lawal and Linton Vassell.  I asked Phil to pick the fight and who he would prefer to fight out of the two.

“Whoever is going to win that fight is completely up to those guys and I have no idea who is going to win.  I don’t know what kind of fighters are going to show up.  I just know they will duke it out to face me.  I don’t care who it is.”

Phil also touched on his new boss, Bellator president Scot Coker, and what his first impressions of him were including comparing him to a certain championship winning football coach.

“Scott called me when I signed and gave me his number and told me to call him I ever needed anything or had to reach him for any reason.  I like him a lot.  I can’t say anything bad about him.  I like the way he runs his promotion.  I keep comparing him to Bill Belichick because players love to play for coach Belichick and fighters love to fight for Scott Coker.  He is just one of those guys when you fight for him he takes care of you.”

Don’t worry fight fans, a new promotion doesn’t mean a new look for “Mr. Wonderful.”  He fully intends to continue rocking his signature pink shorts.

“How could I do away with the pink shorts?  I mean it’s one of those things I’m not sure I could do away with if I wanted to.  It’s part of me and it’s part of my persona.  Don’t worry it’s here to stay.”

At the end of our talk Phil took the opportunity to sell each and every one of you on this big event he will be taking part of.

This is going to be on the best events of the year that people will be talking about for a while.  Make sure you check it out on Spike T.V. and if you have the money, go buy a ticket and make the trip to come check us out live.  It’s going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

You can catch Phil and all the other Bellator competitors this Saturday, September 19th.  The prelims will be aired on Bellator.com at 6:30p.m. ET while the main card kicks off on Spike TV at 9p.m. ET.  The card is headlined by current Bellator light heavy-weight champion, Liam McGeary who squares off against one of the most well known fighters in the sports history, Tito Ortiz.

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Saad Awad talks Zach Freeman, kickboxing, 165 lb division and more ahead of Bellator 186

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Long-time Bellator veteran Saad Awad takes on Zach “the Pico slayer” Freeman at Bellator 186. Awad is currently coming off of a unanimous decision win over Ryan Quinn back at Bellator 178. Awad looks to beat top prospect Freeman in an attempt to go on a two-fight winning streak, in a stacked lightweight division.

Speaking with MMA Latest, Awad let it known he believes Freeman has the better ground game. “I think he’s a solid fighter, pretty durable, obviously better on the ground, so I know I just have to be sharp, and be precise with my striking, and get ready for a good ground game.”

Freeman made his name by beating Bellator’s hyped prospect Aaron Pico back in June, Awad had the chance to give his thoughts on the fight. “I thought it was good, I thought it was a fast win, but he didn’t shy away from it, he didn’t let Pico come in and impose his will, he struck back when he needed to, and dropped him, and got a nice submission.”

With every win helping fighters get closer to a title shot, it’s unclear whether or not Awad is close to a title shot, but he hasn’t given up hope. “I’ve been with Bellator since 2012, I think, or 2013 and I haven’t got a title fight yet so I don’t know man. To be honest, it’s on Bellator and on me to go out there and preform. So I need to win as many fights as I can, so I can go out there and win it.”

For a long time, Awad has been known mostly as the man who knocked out former Bellator champion Will Brooks. Awad believes he’s moved past that fight and more importantly, has moved on from that title. “Definitely at the time I was that guy and I feel like Zach Freeman is that guy for Pico because Pico was pumped up, obviously more than normal. I had that title for a while, but Will Brooks did go off and win a title right after he lost to me, so he had his name buzzing for a while. I definitely think I’ve moved on from that and I’ve beaten some really good guys after that, and I’ve had some really good wars since that fight. I’ll never let one fight dictate who I am and I’m glad I’ve moved past that”

Awad comes into the fight back in the win column and up against an up and coming opponent, Awad details the amount of pressure he’s on. “You know what I always put pressure on myself. Whether I’m winning or losing, because at the end of the day you want to win, whether you’re coming off of a loss or you’re coming off a win. If you lose, you lose, and that’s it, you lost, so there’s always expectation with me and yeah if this time I lose, I could possibly get cut if I lose this one, because I just won my last one and I’m not trying to have a win one, lose, win one, lose one. So there’s still that pressure to perform, especially being that Zach has only one fight in Bellator and I’m probably ten fights in. So I do have some pressure behind me.”

Awad was unable to watch the Henderson-Pitbull fight, lucky, but he did have a theory on why it went the way it did. “You know what I didn’t even watch it, normally I watch all the lightweights but I missed that fight. I read it online, people were complaining saying they both weren’t doing as much, but I understand why Henderson probably wasn’t doing as much, because Patricky hits pretty hard and usually when someone hits pretty hard, you don’t want to go out there with that person and mix it up, because you don’t want to get knocked out. I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened, but I know it could’ve happened. So I take nothing from them because they’re both really good fighters and he won a split decsion so it was obviously close enough for them to go to a split decision.”

Awad also spoke about whether he preferred lightweight or welterweight, and why Bellator should consider a 165-pound weight class. “Honestly man I hate cutting weight. I hate cutting weight but I feel like I’m one of those guys that like if there’s a 165-pound weight class, that would fit me the best. I’m a huge lightweight but I’m a small welterweight, not small but I don’t cut that much weight like my normal walk around weight is probably 165 so you know I’m not the biggest welterweight so I prefer 165 if they added that weight class. If Bellator gets that weight I’d probably be one of the first in line to fight for it.”

With Bellator’s recent splurge on free agents and former UFC fighter’s, Awad believes it’s only helped make Bellator stronger. “I think its cool. No matter where they come from at the end of the day we’re fighters and whether we get cut or we opt to get out of our contracts, it’s because we want to make money, we want to get paid as much as we can, and sometimes we feel like we’re not respected and, were not getting paid what we think we’re worth. So sometimes you have to get out of a contract whether it’s with the UFC, ONE FC or Titan wherever the hell they’re at, or Bellator even. They leave because they want to get paid more. Even if they lost a couple fights, guys can have bad nights and they lose a couple and get cut. It doesn’t mean the guys suck. They could have had something going on or they just have bad match-ups and those guys could be still just as good and dangerous as they were when they first started. So I think nothing of them, I don’t look down on any of the fighters that come here, whether they were cut or opted to get out. At the end of the day, they’re still fighters so there’s respect for their abilities.”

Awad has also been training with Duane Ludwig ahead of this fight. “You know what Duane used to train with my coaches back in the day, I think back in ‘99, 2000 and so they have a really good relationship. He was out in Colorado and we had some teammates that would train with him. Now he’s back out here in Cali, so now we have some teammates going out and mixing it up with them. I’ve only met him once but the dude brings a different aspect to training and for me training with them I would definitely like to train with him more because, like I said, it opened up a whole new book in the chapter of training. I’ll definitely look forward to learning his style of standup because I think it would be good. I’m a big fan of Muay Thai, kickboxing, and boxing, and that’s how I’m going to end being the best I can possibly be, so I think that can add a lot to my arsenal.”

Speaking of kickboxing, Awad has also shown interest in participating on Bellator’s kickboxing cards. “You know what I did ask them, it kind of got shunned away because they’re keeping me busy with MMA. If they cant keep me busy next year I’ll definitely ask them to put me on one of those cards.”

Saad Awad takes on Zach Freeman on November 3rd, at Bellator 186. MMA Latest would like to thank Saad for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.

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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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