Bellator’s Fourth Season continues to unfold this Saturday, as the promotion will head to Shreveport, Louisiana, to host the opening round of its lightweight tournament. The March 12th action will see Patricky Freire vs. Rob McCullough, Ferrid Kheder vs. Toby Imada, Lloyd Woodard vs. Vanier, and Marcin Held vs. Michael Chandler. (Pictured: McCullough)
The card will be hosted by The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium and will be available for viewing on MTV 2.
Just one day removed from the lightweight tourney’s opening round, Bellator has released the following comments from each competitor.
I think everyone says they’re going to stand and strike with me, but then when it comes down to it, they’re going to try to take me down. I don’t expect Patricky [Freire] to be any different, so it’s all good. I hope he tries to stand with me. That would be awesome, but it doesn’t matter to me. Anywhere this fight goes, I plan on finishing it.
I plan on getting in that cage and leaving my mark. This is a tournament fight, and I’m not planning on it going three rounds. I plan on putting a stamp on this puppy. I’m pacing back and forth just thinking about it. I’m ready to get to work.
The chance to face a former world champion in my first fight in the United States is an excellent opportunity for me. I’m ready to make the most of it.
I’m coming into this fight knowing that the odds are on his side. He is favored, and I am the underdog. Rob is strong and a great striker, but I think fans are going to be in for quite a surprise.
I know “Razor” Rob is a former Muay Thai Champion, and I’m prepared to stand and trade strikes with him. I’m prepared for any situation.
If I decide to take the fight to the ground, that’s where I’m going to take it. But at the same time, I will have the option to keep the fight standing, because I truly feel like I’m better than Marcin [Held] in all aspects of the sport.
I’m coming out in this fight with [Marcin] Held to send a direct message to anyone else I might be fighting in the future. I’m planning on going out there and putting on a completely dominant performance in front of hundreds of thousands of fans on MTV2. People are going to know that I’m the real deal.
I know that Michael Chandler is very good fighter, but in this tournament there are no weak fighters. I am happy that I have the opportunity to fight against a fighter like Chandler.
I think that I am completely prepared for Michael Chandler. Wrestling is his strongest skill. I know this and respect this, but I am not worried.
I ‘m definitely confident that I have what it takes to send Lloyd [Woodard] home with his first defeat. I’m always confident. It doesn’t matter if my opponent is undefeated or not, I always feel like I have what it takes to put whoever is standing in front of me away.
I can honestly say that Lloyd [Woodard] isn’t going to be able to show me anything that I haven’t seen before. Training down at Greg Jackson’s, I’ve been blessed to be able to see it all. From Jon Jones to Donald Cerrone, it still amazes me that I get to spar with some of these guys and see all of these different things.
I know Carey Vanier is a talented fighter with strong wrestling and really good takedowns. I’m training to fight the best Carey Vanier ever right now. I know he’s been training down at Greg Jackson’s, so I’m sure he’s been working on the mistakes I’ve noticed from his last couple fights. I’m also pretty confident that he’s going to be showing up in shape, so I’m ready for the best he has to offer. I really want this fight to be a battle.
I just like being in really exciting fights. I honestly wouldn’t mind if this fight with Carey [Vanier] turned into a war. I’m actually hoping that it does. My coach hates it. I go in there wanting to be really technical, but once that adrenaline starts going I just can’t help myself. I fight better when I get rocked. It makes me step my game up that much more.
I think judo could possibly end up playing a role in this fight with Ferrid [Kheder], but I can’t go in there thinking it’s a judo match, because it’s not. I think that the second I go in there trying to play judo with him could be where I mess up, so I’m just going to go into the cage looking at it like it is—a fight.
I don’t see this fight with Ferrid [Kheder] going the distance. I’m definitely hoping that it doesn’t go the distance. My goal is to make sure that it doesn’t especially after the way the decision went in my fight with Pat Curran. I never want to leave my fate in the judge’s hands again.
Toby [Imada] is a great fighter. He’s always in there looking to put on a show. He fights like I fight, always looking to finish. I think that’s going to lead to us being the best fight of the night.
Toby [Imada] has a judo background like me, and I know he has good submissions. Besides that, his recent performance at the S-Cup showed me that he’s a good striker as well. With that being said, I think I’m better than him everywhere, and now it’s up to me to show the world that what I’m saying is the truth.