MMAjunkie's 'Submission of the Month' for June: A hyped debut ends in just 24 seconds

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best submissions from June. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Submission of the Month” award for June.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The nominees

Brian Kelleher def. Iuri Alcantara at UFC 212

There were big punches and kicks coming at Brian Kelleher (17-7 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on hostile ground. But by the time he got done squeezing Iuri Alcantara’s (34-8 MMA, 9-3 UFC) neck, the Brazilian crowd was silent.

A guillotine choke brought Kelleher a quick win over Alcantara, starting his UFC career off with a bang.

Claudia Gadelha def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 212

In a battle between two recent women’s strawweight title contenders, Claudia Gadelha (15-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) nabbed an early takedown, and it proved to be the beginning of the end for Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC).

Moments after the fight hit the mat, Kowalkiewicz found Gadelha on her back. She made a chain of crucial mistakes, which allowed Gadelha to start squeezing for the rear-naked choke that would ultimately force the submission finish just a little over 3 minutes into the fight.

Ben Nguyen def. Tim Elliott at UFC Fight Night 110

No one will be underrating Ben Nguyen’s (17-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) ground game after his fight with former flyweight title challenger Tim Elliott (14-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC).

There wasn’t much to the fight. Nguyen used Elliott’s frenetic grappling against him, taking the back and sinking in a rear-naked choke early in the first round to earn an upset win.

James Gallagher def. Chinzo Machida at Bellator 180

The next big thing to come out of Ireland continued to live up to the hype in his toughest test so far when James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) quickly submitted Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in their featherweight bout.

Gallagher, a teammates of UFC champ Conor McGregor, delivered a clean performance against Machida. He got the fight to the ground early and wasted no time taking Machida’s back and sinking in the rear-naked choke (http://mmajunkie.com/2017/06/bellator-nyc-bellator-180-official-results-ppv-live-video-stream) to end the fight just over two minutes after it began.

Zach Freeman def. Aaron Pico at Bellator NYC

The long-awaited debut of MMA super-prospect Aaron Pico (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) went horribly awry when he was hurt with a huge punch and then submitted by Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) all within the span of 24 stunning seconds.

Pico, who was making his pro debut against a more experience foe in Freeman, ate an uppercut from Freeman just moments after the featherweight fight began. Pico closed the distance out of instinct, but Freeman took advantage and locked up a D’Arce choke, which put Pico to sleep just as he tapped out.

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The Winner: Zach Freeman

The heavily hyped Pico is still a work in progress.

Freeman brought that fact into stark relief with an uppercut and guillotine choke that had Pico tapping quickly.

It was just over 24 seconds into the fight when Pico tapped and briefly went unconscious as Freeman modified his choke and squeezed with a D’Arce.

Pico handed him the opportunity. Perhaps eager to put a knockout on the board after promising one at the event’s weigh-ins, Pico immediately closed the distance and fired off an overhand right. Unfortunately for him, Freeman beat him to the punch with an uppercut.

Pico’s knees buckled, and Freeman grabbed the neck. Pico tried to get free but was quickly forced to tap.

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Bellator NYC post-event facts: Michael Chandler sets dubious title-fight record

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Chael Sonnen concluded his long journey back to the win column on Saturday when the three-time UFC title challenger was victorious against Wanderlei Silva in the Bellator NYC main event.

Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) capped off the organization’s return to pay-per-view with a unanimous-decision win over Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at Madison Square Garden in New York, making for what was one of many notable results from the event.

Bellator NYC followed the Bellator 180 lineup, which aired on Spike (after early prelims on MMAjunkie). The nine televised fights provided much in the way in the post-fight fallout, and for more on the numbers, check out 35 post-event facts to come out of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

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General

Bellator at Madison Square Garden

Debuting fighters went 3-6 at Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

Betting favorites went 5-3 on the card. There were no odds available for one fight.

Betting favorites improved to 8-3 in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the nine-bout Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 lineup was 1:33:36.

* * * *

Bellator NYC

Chael Sonnen

Sonnen snapped his two-fight losing skid for his first victory since August 2013. He earned just his second victory in his past six fights.

Sonnen earned his first decision victory since Jan. 28, 2012 – a span of 1,974 days (more than four years) and six fights.

Silva was unsuccessful in his return to competition after a more than four-year layoff. He hasn’t earned a victory since March 2013.

Silva has alternated wins and losses over his past seven fights.

Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione’s (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) three-fight Bellator winning streak in heavyweight competition is the second longest active streak in the division behind Cheick Kongo (five).

Mitrione has earned 11 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Mitrione has earned all three of his Bellator victories by knockout.

Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) fell to 2-1 since he returned from retirement in December 2015.

Fedor Emelianenko

Emelianenko had his five-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since July 2011.

Emelianenko has suffered all five of his career losses by stoppage.

Emelianenko suffered his first knockout loss since July 30, 2011 – a span of 2,156 days (nearly six years) and six fights

Brent Primus’ (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) six-fight Bellator winning streak in lightweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Michael Chandler and Brent Primus

Primus has earned four of his six Bellator victories by stoppage.

Michael Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) lost the Bellator lightweight title for the second time.

Chandler fell to 5-4 in Bellator championship fights.

Chandler’s four Bellator title-fight losses are most in company history.

Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has earned six of his seven career stoppage victories by submission.

Zach Freeman

Aaron Pico (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) was unsuccessful in his pro debut.

Douglas Lima (29-6 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) earned his first successful Bellator welterweight title defense. He failed to defend in his previous reign.

Lima’s 10 victories in Bellator welterweight competition are tied with Andrey Koreshkov for most in divisional history.

Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin

Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) fell to 4-2 since he dropped to the welterweight division in January.

Larkin fell to 5-4 in his past nine fights.

Larkin has suffered five of his six career losses by decision.

Bellator 180

Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) improved to 8-1 in his past nine fights.

Bader improved to 2-0 in rematches.

Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Neiman Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) has earned five of his six career victories by stoppage.

Dave Marfone (5-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first submission loss of his career.

James Gallagher

James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) has earned six of his seven career victories by stoppage.

Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) had his four-fight winning streak snapped for his first defeat since December 2010.

Machida suffered his first submission loss since Apr. 29, 2006 – a span of 4,074 days (more than 11 years) and six fights.

Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), a pro boxing champion, was successful in her MMA debut.

For complete coverage of “Bellator: NYC” and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180 highlights: Ryan Bader edges Phil Davis for title; James Gallagher wrecks Chinzo Machida

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Check out the highlights from Saturday’s Bellator 180 card, which featured three fights and aired on Spike before the Bellator NYC pay-per-view main card.

In the featured prelim at Madison Square Garden in New York, Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) dropped the Bellator light-heavyweight title to Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) via split decision.

Additionally, brash Irish featherweight James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) ran through Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) to pick up a first-round submission win, and pro boxer Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made a successful MMA debut after scoring a third-round TKO victory over flyweight Alice Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Check out the highlights above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator NYC, Bellator 180 with Skynyrd and the Stones

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Saturday’s Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 events in New York City went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Chael Sonnen def. Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Chael Sonnen: “Too Much Fun” by Daryle Singletary

Wanderlei Silva: “Sandstorm” by Darude

Neiman Gracie def. Dave Marfone via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:27

Neiman Gracie: “New York” by Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss

Dave Marfone: “Desiigner (Remix)” by Timmy Turner feat. Kanye West

Matt Mitrione def. Fedor Emelianenko via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:14

Matt Mitrione: “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Fedor Emelianenko: Russian song

Brent Primus def. Michael Chandler via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 2:22

Michael Chandler: “I Can’t Stop” by Jay-Z & Kanye West

Brent Primus: “Sail” by AWOLNATION

Zach Freeman def. Aaron Pico via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 0:24

Aaron Pico: “I am V.I.P.N” by V.I.P.N Beats

Douglas Lima def. Lorenz Larkin via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 48-47)

Douglas Lima: “Tell The World” by Lecrae

Lorenz Larkin: “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46)

Ryan Bader: “Paint It, Black” by The Rolling Stones

Phil Davis: “With Everything (Tim Yagolnikov Remix)” by The White Album

James Gallagher def. Chinzo Machida via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:22

James Gallagher: “Small Town, Big Dream” by Mr. Mills

Chinzo Machida: “You’re the Best Around (Karate Kid soundtrack)” by Joe Esposito

Heather Hardy def. Alice Yauger via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:44

Heather Hardy: “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys

Alice Yauger: “Shook Ones Part II” by Mobb Deep

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Plenty of security keeps Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva separated at Bellator NYC ceremonial weigh-ins

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NEW YORK – Knowing what was likely to go down if the Bellator NYC headliners got too close to each other Friday night, security detail was on red alert for Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.

The main event light heavyweights, who meet Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York at Bellator’s second pay-per-view event, got face to face Friday night at the ceremonial weigh-ins, which took place at The Theater at MSG.

After Sonnen stepped on the same scale used by Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali at “The Fight of the Century” in 1971 at The Garden, security personnel made sure things stayed on as much of an even keel as possible when Silva took the stage. Sonnen extended his arm to shake Silva’s hand, but the Brazilian wanted none of it and waved his finger at the American.

Also stepping onto the stage for the fans were co-main event heavyweights Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione. Bellator NYC also features a trio of title fights. Michael Chandler defends his lightweight title against Brent Primus on the main card. Welterweight champ Douglas Lima meets Lorenz Larkin with his belt on the line. And to close out the Bellator 180 portion of the event on Spike, light heavyweight champ Phil Davis meets Ryan Bader in a rematch.

Check out the highlights from those face-offs, as well as the face-offs between Alice Yauger and Heather Hardy and Chinzo Machida and James Gallagher, in the video above.

And for more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch Bellator NYC/Bellator 180, with a grudge match, a legend and 3 title fights

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Saturday’s Bellator NYC card has a little bit of everything.

In the main event, there’s a grudge match seven years in the making. The co-main event features the return of an MMA legend making his Bellator debut. Before that, three champions will put their titles on the line.

And ff that’s not enough, one of the hottest prospects in the promotion looks to extend his unbeaten streak, and a blue-chip signing makes his professional MMA debut.

The bout at the top of the card, Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva was first set to take place at UFC 175 in July 2014, but a failed drug test from Sonnen and an evaded drug test from Silva canceled that bout. Now, almost three years later, they settle their differences in Bellator.

In the co-main event, Fedor Emelianenko fights in America for the first time in nearly six years, facing Matt Mitrione.

Bellator NYC takes place at Madison Square Garden and airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 card on Spike and early prelims streaming on MMAjunkie.

Here are 10 reasons to watch Bellator’s first New York event.

1. It’s personal

You often hear how fighters shouldn’t become emotionally invested in a fight. You would think Silva, who is competing in his 50th professional bout, would have received that memo at least once. Yet, here we are, with Silva bringing an emotional mindset into his light heavyweight fight against Sonnen.

“For sure I’m going to hurt him, a lot,” Silva told MMAjunkie Radio. “I want to feel his blood on the ground.”

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The long-simmering rivalry between Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Sonnen (28-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) seems to be more personal for Silva. Sure, Sonnen has played his part in the rivalry, but Sonnen’s role has mostly come across as premeditated, designed to elicit a response he can take advantage of.

Now we’re left to wonder if Silva will lose focus and be full of rage or if his hatred will have him completely dialed in. The answer could decide the winner of this fight.

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2. This one? Not so personal

One fighter who won’t be emotional is Emelianenko. Throughout his career he’s been the standard-bearer for the bored MMA fighter countenance. Yes, Gegard Mousasi and Gunnar Nelson have picked up the mantle, but Emelianenko will always be the master.

What we don’t know is if Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), who is No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie heavyweight rankings, will share that same detached air. If he doesn’t, if the idea of adding Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) to his list of victories leads him to over-commit in his quest for the finish, Mitrione could find himself looking up at the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.

As an aside, don’t be surprised if the winner is fighting for the vacant Bellator heavyweight title next.

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3. We’re talking power

After a 2-4 run at middleweight in the UFC, Lorenz Larkin dropped to welterweight where he went 4-1, recording three TKOs, including a first-round stoppage of Neil Magny in his most recent bout. Despite his success, the UFC didn’t make much of an effort to retain Larkin’s services when he hit free agency, so he opted to sign with Bellator.

That decision proved to be a wise one. The No. 7 ranked Larkin is fighting for gold in his Bellator debut, meeting welterweight champion, No. 13 Douglas Lima.

Like Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) packs a lot of power. Lima holds the record for most knockouts in Bellator history with eight, seven of those as a welterweight, including his third-round knockout of Andrey Koreshkov in November, which earned him the 170-pound title for the second time.

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4. A matter of experience

After seven professional fights, Brent Primus takes a big step up in competition, facing lightweight champion Michael Chandler. It’s fair to wonder if Primus is ready to mix it up with someone as experienced as Chandler.

Before this bout, the biggest name Primus faced was Derek Anderson, who Primus defeated in 2015 via split decision. The No. 11-ranked Chandler, on the other hand, has been fighting the best in Bellator for a long while.

The inclination here is to look at Primus’ (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) experience level and his inactivity – no fights in 2017 and only one per year from 2014-2016 – and think he’s overmatched, but is he? Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) has been in some wars over the years, and at some point those fights take their toll. With this being Chandler’s 20th pro fight after a long wrestling career, that’s a concern.

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5. First step toward greatness?

In November 2014, Bellator signed then 18-year-old Aaron Pico to a “long-term” deal. At that time, Pico was hopeful he would make the 2016 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. He fell short of his goal, losing a best of three (via criteria) to the eventual fifth-place finisher, Frank Molinaro.

Pico (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), now 20, makes his professional MMA debut in New York, where he faces Zach Freeman at featherweight in the first fight on the pay-per-view. Freeman (8-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been fighting professionally since 2011. His last bout was a five-round unanimous decision loss to Thiago Moises for the RFA lightweight title in September.

Back in 2015, Bellator president Scott Coker told MMAjunkie that during one of their conversations Pico said “I want to be the greatest combat fighter that ever lived.” He takes his first step toward that goal in NYC.

6. This time will be different

The first fight between Phil Davis and Ryan Bader took place in the UFC in January 2015. At the time, both were ranked No. 6 and No. 8 in the division, respectively. Bader won by split decision. A few months later, Davis signed with Bellator, where he is currently the light heavyweight champion, defeating Liam McGeary for that title in November. While Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) was running up a 4-0 record in Bellator, Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) went 3-1 in the UFC, fighting out his contract before he, too, jumped to Bellator in March.

While no one was clamoring for a rematch after their first meeting, the two headline the Bellator 180 Spike-televised card. Bader, now ranked No. 4 in the division, told MMAjunkie that fans should expect a different fight when he faces No. 3 Davis.

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“I feel like I’ve grown tremendously in my stand-up, my ground game and everywhere, really,” Bader said. “My mental game is just so far beyond where I was then also. I think that’s going to carry some weight in this new fight. I think I’ve progressed more than he has.”

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7. Your attention, please

Three fights into his Bellator run, unbeaten 20-year-old James Gallagher has captured the attention of fans and fighters.

In February, Pico promised Gallagher a “red, white and blue ass whipping.” More recently, unbeaten rising star A.J. McKee referred to Gallagher as “a joke,” a “little Irish schmuck” and said he would “whoop his ass in his hometown,” after Gallagher called out McKee following his February submission win over Kirill Medvedovsky.

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Before Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) gets booked against Pico or McKee, he has to get past fellow featherweight Chinzo Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), the 40-year-old brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Chinzo is also unbeaten in Bellator, with two knockouts, most recently stopping Jamar Ocampo in January.

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8. A familiar name

The Gracie name is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because fight fans will always be intrigued when a Gracie competes. It’s a curse because fans can put unfair expectations on Gracie fighters.

Neiman Gracie has lived up to his famous last name during his MMA career. Gracie is unbeaten with four submission wins in five fights. A very patient competitor when looking to secure a tap, Gracie can also quickly transition to a secondary submission option if the opportunity presents itself, something he displayed in his last fight, a first-round submission victory over Rudy Bears.

Gracie (5-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) faces Dave Marfone (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a welterweight bout. Marfone is coming off a TKO loss to Stephen Regman at CFFC 63 in February.

9. Giving this MMA thing a go

Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez was supposed to face Sadee Monserrate Williams on the Spike-televised portion of this event, but an injury scrapped that contest. And while that’s a bummer, it opened the door for Heather Hardy’s flyweight bout vs. Alice Yauger to be moved to Spike.

Hardy (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a New York-based boxer who trains out of the famed Gleason’s Gym, is unbeaten in 20 boxing contests. She makes her MMA debut against Yauger (4-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), who is coming off a decision loss to Jessica Middleton at Bellator 171.

Hardy was set to debut with Invicta in January, but that fight fell through. Hardy subsequently became a free agent, signing with Bellator. Hardy plans on competing in both boxing and MMA.

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10. You know the voices

Bellator made some moves on the commentating front ahead of this event. Earlier this month, the promotion announced it had signed former longtime UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, along with Mauro Ranallo, when Sean Grande departed his play-by-play duties.

Goldberg and Ranallo will both work the New York event. Ranallo will work play-by-play for the pay-per-view card alongside color commentator Jimmy Smith, with Goldberg anchoring the desk. For the Spike-televised portion of the card, as well as the live-streamed prelims, it will be Goldberg on play-by-play with Smith; Ranallo will serve as host on the desk.

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180's Chinzo Machida trusts experience in 'martial arts as a whole' to make a difference

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Featherweight Chinzo Machida has only one more pro MMA bout over his opponent, but he’s still banking on experience on Saturday.

Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) is a unique case. At 40, he’s only had seven MMA bouts, which were basically spread throughout a 12-year period. Meanwhile, Bellator 180 opponent James Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who happens to be half Machida’s age, only kicked off his pro career in 2015 – after a significant amateur run.

Looking at records alone, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an experience advantage. But, with a lifetime of karate and a former UFC champ for a brother, Machida’s numbers are deceiving.

“I really trust my experience,” Machida told MMAjunkie. “Not only my experience in MMA, but in martial arts as a whole. I’ve been training (karate) since I was four, and following my dad’s teachings. I’ve been following Lyoto’s trajectory in MMA for a long time, too. I think experience will make a difference.”

Bellator 180 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Bellator: NYC main card airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 undercard on Spike.

There have been a few reasons for Machida’s timid record. More recently, between 2014 and 2016, he was recovering from a shoulder injury. Before that, there was karate – which, for him, entailed competing, teaching and promoting the Machida family’s specific, defense-driven style. And then, of course, there was a lot of focus put into helping with his brother’s very successful MMA career.

But Machida is now on a roll. After a TKO over Mario Navarro to kick off his Bellator run this past August, he went on to dispatch Jamar Ocampo at at Bellator 170 with yet another knockout. And, currently free from any serious injuries, he credits his background for helping him perform at a high level.

“I’m feeling fast and strong in training,” Machida said. “And Machida Karate, which we’ve adjusted to a more ‘real’ type of contact fighting, has also given us the ability to defend ourselves without letting our opponents hit us. This is one of our weapons, and it allows us to lead long lives in martial arts.”

Machida still trains with Lyoto, who’s currently serving an 18-month suspension following a USADA violation, and says his brother’s absence from the cage in no way disrupts his own training. Kings MMA leader Rafael Cordeiro also helps hone his striking.

While there was specific ground and defensive work done to prepare for an opponent who’s finished all but one of his professional fights via submission, Machida says he’s keeping an open mind as to where their bout can go.

“I can’t think that he’s strictly a jiu-jitsu guy, that he’s going to take me down and do jiu-jitsu alone,” Machida said. “The fight starts on the feet, so I need to be prepared both to attack on the feet and to defend on the feet.”

The future, should he manage to stop “The Strabanimal” train on its tracks, is one that Machida is still not putting too much thought into. But looking to be a part of Bellator’s roster “for a lot longer,” he admits his current situation has sparked his ambition a bit.

“Every fighter in there has a dream, which is to be a champion,” Machida said. “I’m no different. But one step at a time. My challenge is Gallagher. I have to watch out for him, he’s a dangerous guy. We’ll see what happens, but my dream of being a champion has awakened even more.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Video: Bellator 180 media-day staredowns, including fiery 'Strabanimal,' title fight rematch

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NEW YORK – Fight week is officially underway in New York for Bellator’s dual-event evening, and the featured fighters of Bellator 180 today came together for traditional pre-fight staredowns.

Bellator 180 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event airs on Spike following additional bouts that stream on MMAjunkie, and the card serves as the prelims for the promotion’s Bellator NYC pay-per-view event that immediately follows.

Bellator light heavyweight champ Phil Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) and Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who meet in a rematch from the pair’s UFC days, were the featured fighters of the staredowns.

Meanwhile, the man known as “The Strabanimal” James Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), made it clear he means business against a man 20 years his senior in Chinzo Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Also featured were Neiman Gracie (5-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) vs. Dave Marfone (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Heather Hardy (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Alice Yauger (4-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Ryan Couture (10-5 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) vs. Haim Gozali (7-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA).

Check out the video above to see highlights from the face-offs.

And for more on Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie