Bellator 127’s Saad Awad’s Ready for Promotion’s New Format: “Whoever They Give me I’m Going to Keep Taking Them Out”
By Kelsey Mowatt
To date, all of Saad Awad’s bouts with Bellator have had one of two goals in mind: win the fight to advance in the lightweight tourney, or record a victory as a means to secure another tourney invite. As the noted finisher prepares to scrap Sergio Rios at Bellator 127 on October 3rd, however, the promotion’s match-making policies have been completely overhauled.
“I don’t know. It’s funny, because I talked to my manager last night asking him about it and I was like ‘hey, what happens after this?’,” Awad relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “And his reply was ‘just get through this fight and we’ll worry about that after’. So I’m just focusing on this fight and we’ll see what happens after.”
The reason for the uncertainty, of course, is because the promotion’s new president Scott Coker, has already confirmed that the tourney format will no longer dictate Bellator’s match-making decisions. Under the old regime, fighters had to win a tourney, in order to secure a title shot.
Based off what Coker’s said in recent weeks, however, it looks as though the promotion will follow more of a traditional match-making format. Advancement comes through winning key fights against fellow contenders.
“It does seem that way because they haven’t mentioned anything about any lightweight tournaments at all,” Awad said. “So it does look like it’s going that way and they’re keeping me busy, so as long as they keep me busy and I keep fighting, whoever they give me I’m going to keep taking them out. Hopefully then I’ll be able to get a title shot.”
“I have kind of a love-hate relationship when I think about it,” furthered Awad, while discussing the pro and cons of the tourney format. “Tournaments kept me really busy and the pay was really good, and thank God I wasn’t injured, besides when I broke my hand in the finals of the first tournament…It kept me really busy, but after that, I kind of got shelved for a little bit so that sucked. Now, I’ve fought once, and they’re keep me busy, so even if it’s not a tournament, if they keep me busy like this I have no problem not fighting in tournaments.”
In Rios, Awad will face an undefeated lightweight, who is coming off a successful Bellator debut in July. In fact, the Black House fighter knocked out one of Awad’s Millennia MMA training partners, Stephen Martinez.
“He fought my teammate on the same card I fought on,” noted Awad, who stopped Joe Duarte in the first round that same July 25th night. “So I was studying him before for that fight, so when they asked me if I wanted to fight him I didn’t hesitate. I said ‘yeah for sure; I’ll take it.”
“He has heart, he didn’t give up,” Awad said, while referring to Rios’s fight with Martinez. “He was kind of getting pounded on in the first round and he didn’t give up; he came back. I know he’s a really good jiu-jitsu guy, so I know that’s something I’ll have to watch out for. He’s going to be dangerous everywhere.”
Bellator 127 will be hosted by the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California on October 3rd.