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Rampage Jackson talks returning to Bellator for Dynamite 2

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Rampage Jackson makes his comeback to Bellator at Dynamite 2 when he moves up in weight to face Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist, Satoshi Ishii.

Jackson (36-11) has been competing for both Bellator and the UFC organizations for the last two years after several contract issues between him and both promotions.

“It’s nice to be back in Bellator. They treat me good,” said Jackson in a phone interview.

The fight will be contested at a catch weight of 215lbs, with Ishii (14-5) being the much larger man, having a weight advantage of up to 35lbs. Jackson has pondered staying in the heavyweight division, but will not make a decision until after this fight.

“I’m not worried about his size advantage. I’ve been training with a lot of black belt judo fighters to help me prepare for him,” said Jackson.

The first Dynamite card was held last September at Bellator 142, which showcased MMA fights inside a cage and Glory kickboxing matches in a ring right alongside the cage.

Ishii will be making his Bellator debut after competing with the Japanese promotion, Rizin Fighting Federation. Ishii won his Olympic gold medal in Judo at the 2008 Summer Games.

Jackson hasn’t competed since April 2015, when he defeated Fabio Maldonado via a unanimous decision at UFC 186 in Montreal, Canada.

Rampage competed under the UFC banner from 2007-2013, then signed with Bellator, where he fought three times against Joey Beltran, Christian M’Pumbu and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, winning all three bouts. His contract with Bellator was for six fights. Jackson resigned with the UFC in 2014 after accusing Bellator of being in breach of their contract and was scheduled to face off against Maldonado. A month before UFC 186, Bellator filed a lawsuit alleging that Rampage was still under contract with Bellator.

Bellator was granted an injunction that was to block Jackson from competing at UFC 186, but that injunction was overturned after an appeal was filed and Jackson was allowed to take part in that event after all. Jackson and Bellator settled their contract dispute earlier this year, thus welcoming back the former UFC light heavyweight champion.

One of MMA’s most charismatic and popular fighters with his menacing stare downs and signature howls after his knockouts, the 37-year-old doesn’t give the impression that he senses his career might be winding down.

“I plan on fighting 100 to 200 more times! I just want to leave a legacy as one of the most exciting fighters to ever step in the cage,” said Jackson.

If Jackson decides to continue competing as a heavyweight, there are a lot of intriguing fights that he might be interested in, possibly against Fedor Emelianenko or Matt Mitrione, the most recent notable free agent to sign with Bellator after completing his contract with the UFC.

“I get paid to fight! Put anyone in the cage and I’ll fight them! Whoever wants to step up for a butt-whopping, I’m ready for them!”

Jackson also reflected on the recent passings of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and MMA star Kimbo Slice, who Jackson coached on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.

“I know it sounds sad to say, but I was happy that Ali passed because now he won’t be suffering anymore. Kimbo’s death was a lot more shocking because of the suddenness of it, it was far too early for him to go, but with Ali’s death, he just wasn’t himself for so long, and now he can finally get some rest and peace,” said Jackson in a much more somber tone.

Dynamite 2 will be held Friday, June 24, live from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri and shown on Spike TV at 8/7 central time.

 

– By Alex Solano @alexsolano3676

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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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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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