You know what to expect from Bellator's Neiman Gracie (you can blame his wife)

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Neiman Gracie knows what he’s going to do. His opponents know. We all know. Don’t like it? Blame his wife.

In Friday’s Bellator 185 co-headliner, Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) picked up a second-round submission victory over short-notice opponent and fellow welterweight Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

The undefeated 28-year-old Brazilian, who’s the great-grandson of Carlos Gracie, is obviously a jiu-jitsu specialist. In fact, it was a second-round neck crank that earned him his win in the Spike-televised bout at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

With his latest victory, Gracie hopes to fight again as early as December. And what’s he going to do in his next bout? The usual.

“I’m going to go for a takedown and try to get my choke, you know?” he said. “It’s safe.

“And I still got to look good. Otherwise, my wife will be mad at me.”

Bucia proved harder to submit than some of his previous WSOF and Bellator opponents. Gracie was appreciative of both the challenge and Bucia’s willingness to take the fight as a replacement for Javier Torres on just a few days’ notice.

“Man, I thank him for taking the fight because he’s a warrior – to take this fight on short notice,” Gracie said. “My other opponent, he got injured, I think, and he backed off the fight with a week’s notice.

“This camp was the craziest camp I ever had because I got hurt so many times. And I thought about leaving the fight too, but once I sign a fight, I never back down. I’ve never done that before. I hurt my back. I hurt my knees. Crazy things happened. I got punched in my ear. My ear got cut … and was the size of a baseball, and I kept training and training.”

Gracie, though, thinks he’ll be cleared to fight again quickly, which is why he’s targeting one more bout before year’s end.

“I want to do this more and more,” he said. “Like I said before, all I do is eat, sleep and train. So, why not fight more?

“Plus I’m having a kid. So I need to make money.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Bellator 185 results: Neiman Gracie's game plan on point for second-round finish of Zak Bucia

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Neiman Gracie joked earlier in the week that no matter his opponent, everyone knows his game plan. And that game plan worked once again – even if it took a little longer than he might have liked.

Gracie (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) took short-notice opponent Zak Bucia (18-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) down early in their fight, but had to see the second round before he could get a finish with a neck crank at the 2:27 mark of the round.

The welterweight bout was the co-main event of Bellator 185, which took place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Bucia ate a kick to the body early, then had to circle back when Gracie dropped in for a takedown, which was the obvious game plan for the jiu-jitsu ace. He got it rather easily a minute in and took Bucia’s back. From there, the rear-naked choke attempt was a fairly elementary process. After locking up a body triangle, Gracie peppered a few punches in, then patiently dealt with Bucia’s hand-fighting defense – which was good and kept him alive.

But with 90 seconds left in the round, Bucia managed to reverse position and got on top. He was still tied up in Gracie’s body triangle, and Gracie then worked for an omoplata. He transitioned that to a brief foot attack before bailing on it to go to the second round.

In the second, Gracie went after a takedown early with Bucia against the fence. He got it a minute in, though Bucia got back to his feet quickly. But Gracie took him right back down, got the body triangle locked up , then again worked punches till he could go after the choke. Bucia continued to fight back. But soon enough, Bucia had enough of getting his neck cranked and had to tap.

Official Bellator 185 results include:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Neiman Gracie def. Zak Bucia via submission (neck crank) – Round 2, 2:27
  • Kristina Williams def. Heather Hardy via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 2:00
  • Ryan Quinn def. Marcus Surin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Lisa Blaine def. Ana Julaton via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

PRELIMINARY CARD (6:30 p.m. ET)

  • John Lopez def. Billy Giovanella via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Kevin Carrier def. Jose Perez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Vovka Clay def. Frank Sforza via submission (gulilotine choke) – Round 2, 1:17 – 150-pound catchweight
  • Don Shainis def. Matt Denning via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:50 – 150-pound catchweight
  • Jordan Young def. Alec Hooben via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:44 – 195-pound catchweight
  • Costello Van Steenis def. Steve Skrzat via submission (strikes) – Round 1, 2:52
  • Joaquin Buckley def. Vinicius de Jesus via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Pete Rogers def. Timothy Wheeler via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 0:37
  • Dean Hancock def. John Beneduce via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:38

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 185's Neiman Gracie happy to keep family name relevant in MMA

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The Gracie name will forever and always be remembered as one of, if not, the most important aspects to the growth of MMA. Neiman Gracie is one of the fourth-generation members of the family, and he takes pride in that.

With that pride comes expectations, though, and Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) admits he feels it. He’s done well to thrive in MMA so far, winning his first six fights. He will look to stay unbeaten on Friday when he takes on Zak Bucia (18-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Bellator 185.

“Don’t put that pressure on me,” Gracie told MMAjunkie with a laugh when asked if he’s currently the most relevant family member in MMA. “I don’t know (if I’m the most relevant). There is some other good guys. Kron is training a lot and fighting (in Rizin FF). There’s not that many other Gracie’s in MMA. I’m happy I’m one of the top Gracie’s right now.”

Bellator 185 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The welterweight bout between Gracie and Bucia co-headlines the Spike-televised main card following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

Although naturally known best for his jiu-jitsu prowess, Gracie is aware he can’t rely entirely on his grappling forever. He’s earned five of his six career victories by submission, but as the competition gets more difficult deeper into his career, he won’t always be able to get the fight where he wants it.

Gracie said he’s realistic about that fact, and it could possibly even happen in his next fight. Bucia has yet to be submitted in his 26-fight career, and while Gracie has expectations to be the first to get a tap, he’s aware he must have a backup plan.

“I’ve been training striking and the other martial arts for a while now,” Gracie said. “I think that with time I’m going to be able to show more of my ability. I think in these next fights I will be able to show a little bit of what I have in the other areas.

“I will always try to apply my Gracie jiu-jitsu,” he continued. “That’s what I always want to do. If I have no option and cannot do my game plan, I will try to fight on the feet or do whatever else I need.”

If Gracie is able to continue to handle his opponents on the mat, though, then his rise up Bellator’s 170-pound pecking order is going to be quick. However, at 28, and with just four years of fighting experience to his credit, he said he’s in no rush to leap into title contention immediately. He said he is ready for that type of competition, though.

“I’m happy with Bellator and happy with my career and the way it’s going,” Gracie said. “After this fight, depending on how I do, I think I will be ready for the bigger names for sure.

“There’s always room for improvement with everything, but I see myself at the top level for sure,” he continued. “I just need to get more cage time and improve my record. But I’m ready to fight the top guys.”

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Bellator 185 pre-event facts: Can Shlemenko strengthen resume at Mousasi's expense?

Despite a bevy of changes to the card, Bellator action returns on Friday with Bellator 185, which takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with a main card on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

One of the more noteworthy debuts in company history is set for the headliner when former Strikeforce champion and longtime UFC middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) meets former Bellator 185-pound champion Alexander Shlemenko (56-9 MMA, 12-3 BMMA).

With 116 professional bouts between them, Mousasi and Shlemenko will set a new record for the most combined experience in a Bellator main event. For more on the numbers behind Friday’s Bellator 185 fight card, check out 20 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Mousasi makes his Bellator debut after a 12-fight UFC career in which he went 9-3.

Mousasi enters the event on a five-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since September 2015.

Mousasi has earned 35 of his 42 career victories by stoppage. He’s earned 31 of those wins in Round 1.

Mousasi has earned his past four victories by knockout.

Mousasi’s eight victories since 2014 in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Sam Alvey for most in the division.

Mousasi absorbed just 1.42 significant strikes per minute in UFC middleweight competition, the third best rate in divisional history behind Chael Sonnen (1.12) and Ivan Salaverry (1.15).

Shlemenko competes in his 16th Bellator middleweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Shlemenko enters the event on a seven-fight unbeaten streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since September 2014.

Shlemenko’s 12 victories in Bellator competition are tied for fourth most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14), Michael Chandler (13) and Joe Warren (13).

Shlemenko’s 12 victories in Bellator middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Shlemenko has earned 40 of his 56 career victories by stoppage. He earned 25 of those wins in Round 1.

Shlemenko’s eight stoppage victories in Bellator middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Shlemenko’s six knockout victories in Bellator middleweight competition are most in divisional history.

Co-main event

Neiman Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), 28, is the youngest of the 10 scheduled main-card fighters.

Gracie is 3-0 since he dropped to the welterweight division in February 2015.

Gracie has earned three of his four Bellator victories by submission.

Remaining main card

Heather Hardy

Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), a pro boxing champion, returns to MMA after making a successful debut at Bellator 180 in June.

Ana Julaton (2-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), 37, is the oldest of the 10 scheduled main card fighters.

Julaton returns to MMA competition for the first time since Dec. 11, 2015. The 679-day layoff is the longest of her more than three-year career.

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Friday's Bellator 185 lineup loses 2 main-card bouts

Friday’s Bellator 185 main card has undergone some major changes.

Officials today told MMAjunkie that an undisclosed injury has forced Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) out of the night’s scheduled co-headliner, and as a result, welterweight opponent David Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) has also been pulled from the card.

Additionally, Javier Torres (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has also suffered an injury, and welterweight Zak Bucia (18-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has stepped in as a replacement to fight Neiman Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in the new co-main event.

Bellator 185 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

With the loss of Ward vs. Rickels, a fight between lightweights Ryan Quinn (13-7-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) and Marcus Surin (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been promoted to the five-fight main card.

The latest Bellator 185 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Zak Bucia vs. Neiman Gracie
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Lisa Blaine vs. Ana Julaton
  • Ryan Quinn vs. Marcus Surin

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 p.m. ET)

  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Vinicius de Jesus
  • Steve Skrzat vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Alec Hooben vs. Jordan Young
  • Kevin Carrier vs. Kastriot Xhema
  • Vovka Clay vs. Frank Sforza
  • John Beneduce vs. Dean Hancock

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Spider-Man who? For Bellator 180's Neiman Gracie, the superheroes came from his own family

Who needs Marvel or DC Comics when you can just look at your own family for inspiration?

Just one look at his name might give you an idea as to why that was the case for welterweight Neiman Gracie. Set to meet Dave Marfone (5-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at this Saturday’s Bellator 180, Gracie (5-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) says it was never family pressure, but instead admiration, that pushed him into becoming a fighter.

“I had my uncles and older cousins as heroes,” Gracie told MMAjunkie ahead of the Spike-televised main card bout. “Instead of Superman or Spider-Man – Renzo, Royce and Rickson were my heroes. I always wanted to fight and train. I never felt any pressure due to that. On the contrary: I was always very happy to be able to represent the family.”

Gracie has been succeeding at that. At 28, he’s not only beaten all of the five opponents in his combined WSOF and Bellator records, but caught all but one of them in submissions. Clearly, he takes after Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s royal family. But, as happy as he is to carry that flag, Gracie says he’s never set out to excel purely in a gi.

“My focus was always MMA,” Gracie said. “Of course I love jiu-jitsu, but my focus was always to be an MMA fighter. When I was still very young, before I even got my black belt, I was already training boxing and other martial arts.

“Then there was the opportunity for my debut. I’d already been training, and it was perfect. It’s what I always wanted.”

That, however, doesn’t mean Gracie is in any way looking to stray away from his jiu-jitsu. While managing to finish Marfone on the feet would certainly display another facet of his MMA game, the Brazilian welterweight has no doubts when it comes to his preferred ending.

“For me, the most important would be to win with a submission – to show my jiu-jitsu, which is my biggest weapon,” Gracie said. “I’d be happier submitting than knocking him out, to be honest.”

The Spike-televised Bellator 180, headlined by a title fight between light heavyweight champ Phil Davis and fellow UFC vet Ryan Bader, will serve as the lead-up for the pay-per-view Bellator NYC card. The dual-branded events take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

These are certain some special circumstances for Gracie. Not only has he received premium placement in one of the promotion’s biggest events to date, he gets to do that a mere two blocks from his training grounds at Renzo Gracie’s.

Gracie, who’s been living in the U.S. for a decade, certainly sees the advantages in fighting at home –  sleeping in his own bed and cutting weight in familiar territory, for instance. But, on the flip side, there’s certainly some added pressure.

In any case, it all comes down to how you want to look at it.

“All my friends, family and students will be there,” Gracie said. “But there are two ways of looking at it. Either you put that pressure upon yourself, or you use it to propel you. You use it in your favor. I’m trying to use it in my favor.”

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

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie