Bellator 130’s Dave Jansen: New-And-Improved Fighter is Ready to Steal Rick Hawn’s Thunder
By Kelsey Mowatt
When Dave Jansen steps into the cage tonight at Bellator 130, over 18 months will have gone by since he secured a lightweight tourney win by defeating Marcin Held. While some will see the layoff as a reason to suspect Jansen won’t be at his best when he takes on Rick Hawn, “The Fugitive” says the opposite is true.
“It feels great,” Jansen said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing his recovery and return from a completely torn ACL. “I’ve used the layoff to my advantage, like I said, I retooled my camp, connected with a couple of new trainers, and just rounding out my game you know?”
Since the injury, Jansen has been a driving force in building Unaffiliated MMA in Portland, Oregon, which also includes UFC vet Ian Loveland.
“I’ve always been a strong wrestler, and solid submissions, but now I have even more confidence in my striking,” said Jansen, who is riding a six fight win streak heading into Friday’s bout. “So I think it’s going to lend itself to more exciting fights.”
While Jansen says he’s a new-and-improved fighter, he is not returning to the title shot he secured in 2013. Plenty has changed in Bellator since Jansen was injured, as not only is the promotion moving away from the tourney format, but former champ Eddie Alvarez is now with the UFC. Will Brooks is scheduled to fight Michael Chandler for the vacant belt on November 15th.
“Well I was okay with it,” said Jansen, while discussing the fact he will not be competing for the title in his return. “They said you can wait but it’s going to take a while…they’re trying to offer big fights to the fans, and obviously Will Brooks and Michael Chandler II, it’s a good fight. We all saw how close the first one was.”
“So they offered me Rick Hawn and I jumped right at it because I think he’s a great fight for me,” the 35 year-old furthered. “He’s a big name and I think I can steal some of his thunder with this win, and kind of be in the spotlight afterwards so to speak.”
In Hawn, Jansen will face an Olympic level Judoka, who has added a punishing striking game to his grappling base. The veteran fighter will be competing for the first time since he was stopped by welterweight champ Douglas Lima in April, which snapped the Tristar fighter’s four fight winning streak.
“Anyone who saw his last fight…Douglas Lima, he’s a beast, he’s huge, and he kicks like a mule,” said Jansen. “Rick doesn’t like to get kicked, Rick doesn’t like to get taken down, he doesn’t like to be on his back. I think my wrestling is up for the judo challenge. I’ve wrestled collegiate, greco and freestyle, so I’m not too concerned with big throws.”
“Rick’s most dangerous when he’s connecting with the right hand or a right high kick,” furthered Jansen. “He throws a nice straight right hand. I’m not going to deny that, but I think his ground-and-pound, he’s got to be on top to implement that…on his record, it doesn’t seem to indicate that he has much of a submission game.”
Bellator 130 will be hosted by the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.