MEDIA DAY QUOTES, VIDEOS AND PHOTOS FOR BELLATOR MMA 285: HENDERSON VS. QUEALLY

With another historic event in Dublin, Ireland just days away, fighters from BELLATOR MMA 285: Henderson vs. Queally spoke to the media today before their slated fights this Friday, September 23 at the 3Arena.

Headlined by a five-round main event between No. 3-ranked Benson “Smooth” Henderson (29-11) and hometown hero and No. 5-ranked Peter “The Showstopper” Queally (13-6-1), BELLATOR 285 is supported by a mouthwatering cast of top MMA talent, featuring legends of the sport, homegrown stars and international challengers hoping to spoil the Irish party.

The co-main event features No. 8-ranked light heavyweight veteran Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (14-6) taking on another legend of the sport in Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef (32-15-1).

The main card will air live in America on SHOWTIME at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, while the preliminary card airs live on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV beginning at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

Overseas, the main card will air live in the UK on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer and in Ireland on Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Sport from 9 p.m. BST. The preliminary card will stream live in the UK on the BBC iPlayer and in Ireland on Virgin Media from 6 p.m. BST.

Very few tickets remain for BELLATOR 285 are on sale and can be purchased through Bellator.com.

Here’s what the BELLATOR 285 fighters had to say: 

BENSON HENDERSON: NO. 3-RANKED BELLATOR LIGHTWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“This is the last four fights of my career. Give it all I’ve got, the best I’ve got. After that, I’m done, and then it’s my wife’s turn. Give her a chance to be a world champion. I’ll pick up the kids from school, take them to chess practice, make meals; I’ll do all that stuff. It puts that much more pressure: for the rest of my life, I’ve got four left. I think it adds more pressure, but I always add more pressure to myself to get the most out of myself.”

“Peter’s tough. He’s a veteran. He’s a tough guy, and I think it’s going to be a good fight. He’s going to go in there and try to beat me up, and I’m going to try to beat him up. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.”

“I want to give the Irish fans a better show. I felt, after the Jury fight, a little lackluster. I felt it wasn’t my best performance, and I think a fighter like Peter Queally, that’s going to bring the best out of me. I’m bringing out the whole family this time, and we’re going to explore Dublin and all of Ireland and go sightseeing a little bit.”

“The Irish fans were amazing. A great experience, great vibe, great energy from the crowd. I like to think of us more as athletes, but I’m realistic: we’re entertainers, as well. And as an entertainer, to be in that environment, it’s electrifying. It’s all of it. Overall, the entire experience in Dublin has been awesome. I generally have a good experience, but Dublin last time I was here was something else. The crowd was amazing. The ‘Sweet Caroline;’ it’s cool to see a crowd so pumped up for a fight.”

“Coming off a loss is not a good feeling. I’m way more jacked up coming off of a loss, and I feel like he’s going to be the same way.”

“It’s up to you guys. You guys are the journalists who put everything to scale. I’ll leave it up to you guys. After I get my hand raised against Peter Queally, I’ll either beat up Pitbull in a soccer stadium in Brazil, or I’ll fight with a Russian, and let’s do that in a soccer stadium. But I’m going to end with a BELLATOR title wrapped around my waist. What I can control is what’s inside the cage. You guys can say whatever you want to say; people say this about Derek Jeter… yada yada. You can write about it for years, but for the athletes, we’re just concerned about being the best we can.”

“I tend to give a lot of respect to the crowd. People tune in from around the world, but I always try to do my best to turn around and give a lot of respect to the guys who come out, spend their hard-earned money, and come to the fights live. It’s special.”

PETER QUEALLY: NO.5-RANKED BELLATOR LIGHTWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“It’s so cool. I’ve said this many times in interviews: it’s so cool to see myself on the poster, and to be on top of Yoel. I’m such a huge fan of his. I can’t wait to meet him and get a picture with him.”

“Same as always. I’m just getting ready for a weight cut now. I know the challenge that’s in front of me. It will be very difficult, but I’m down for difficult. I can’t wait… When I signed with BELLATOR, I told them straight away, I just want the hard fights. Especially with the investment they’re making in Ireland, I feel like I’m getting the respect I maybe wasn’t getting. It’s all going good for me.”

“I feel like I’ve had lots of great moments in my career. My last few fights have had great finishes. The walkout is just part of my identity now, and I’m very grateful to the Irish fans. I wouldn’t really have a career if it wasn’t for them, and I’m very grateful for it.”

“If you’d have told me 10-12 years ago when I was sleeping outside in my car that I was going to fight Benson in the 3Arena, I wouldn’t have believed you. My family are very proud of me, and it’s time to just go out there and do it.”

“It’s unreal. It’s amazing. This is the best show I think BELLATOR have put on. All it’s missing is James. We’ll do our best to carry it without him, but it’s a different feeling when he’s not here. It’s going to be a great show, and I’m ready for it.”

“I do put it aside. I don’t consider myself the B-side here. We’re in the 3Arena, let’s not forget. Once the bell rings, he’s not going to be Benson Henderson anymore. He’s just going to be a guy in front of me. I’m going to go in there and try to kill him, you know what I mean? I don’t think I’ll be starstruck… I’ll try to enjoy it a bit more. I’ll try to embrace it a bit more and enjoy.”

“I’d like it to be Patricky again. In fairness, there’s a bit of a queue there. But I think if I win in a dominant fashion and some of the dominoes fall the right way, I think I could fight him next. I think he likes that fight too. I think he liked fighting here, or that’s the sense I got talking with him backstage. I think I could sneak to the title shot.”

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“I treat every fight the same. There’s always tension, no matter where it is. That’s what I kind of look for, that first exchange, and then I usually settle in after that.”

“I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I think it’s going to be a very unpleasant 25 minutes for both of us… But that’s fine for me.”

“One thing that changed was I got much more confident in my striking. In my early days I was confident, but I would wrestle and not go for the kill. If you watch those fights, I was so close to knocking some of those guys out. I’m more experience now, more confident now. I can go for the kill.”

“I wasn’t afraid to take a chance, move up to Dublin, be uncomfortable and wait for something to happen. MMA teaches you. It’s something very difficult. That challenges you mentally and makes you tougher.”

YOEL ROMERO: NO.7-RANKED BELLATOR LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“I’m excited to be here. It’s a great place. It’s been one of my dreams to come here, especially with the history of the fighting Irish. Just great warriors from Ireland. I’m excited to be here. It’s just a reminder of a lot of great history and warriors who come from Ireland… I feel very honored and proud to represent Cuba, and I feel that everyone should be proud to represent the country that they’re from. I cherish the fans. I carry them on my back, and it feels like a great honor to move forward, and I’m motivated to represent them.”

“Everything has a beginning and an end, and I just wish him very well after his career ends as he continues as a father. Hopefully, he’s able to use all that the sport has given him to carry on his life.”

“One of the things I do want to say thank you to Conor for is that he’s been giving me help on being here in Ireland. A lot of thanks to Conor. He’s offered cars, he’s offered his gym, and he’s invited me to his restaurant, and I appreciate that a lot from a fellow fighter. After the fight, I’ll go to his restaurant. He’s just been keeping an eye on me and making sure I’m okay. Right now, the focus is just purely on Melvin.”

“Finally, I get to fight somebody my age. In my career, there’s been a great age gap from my opponents. I look forward to finally fighting someone my age. They feel what I feel, so I’m curious how I’m going to do with someone my age.”

“One of the biggest challenges is to be an athlete, and to be a champion, you have to beat a champion. The real challenge of being an athlete is to work hard, especially to do so in two weight divisions. You have the first person who was able to be champ champ. I would love to be a champ champ for my country, too. Man has to have goals. If not, life is empty.”

“I’m going to fight MMA with him. MMA includes everything. He’d better be ready for everything.”

“His managers and my managers, they were discussing the original thought of fighting me. The decision was, they didn’t want to fight me. They sought out an opponent who would be easier for Jake Paul to beat. The fact of the matter is they don’t want to fight me.”

MELVIN MANHOEF: NO.9-RANKED BELLATOR LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“Yeah, I think it’s going to be it. Why now? It’s the last fight of the contract for BELLATOR. I think I’ve done a lot of things, and I think this is a great opponent to say farewell to all the fans. This is going to be a great fight, and the fans will be the winner. I hope it’s going to be like a Cyborg fight: just go in there and bang.”

“I expect he’s going to be in his best shape, and I’m going to be in the best shape. I don’t have to lie, facts count. I have 29 knockouts. I have that power. I’m going to be there and do what I’ve enjoyed the whole time. I don’t have any expectations. The only expectation is that I want to win this fight.”

“I think it’s time. But for everybody, I really feel alive when I was doing this training camp. I’ve been doing this for 28 years now, so it’s hard, but I have to leave it to the next generation.”

“I think everyone knows the fight of Mark Hunt. They notice. This is something special when you see how small I am. I think I have done a lot, and for what I could do with my body type, I did amazing things. Fought middleweight, light heavyweight, fought in K-1, knocked out big guys. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I think I gave people a lot of fun to watch.”

“We have a lot of power in our hands. In the first, it’s maybe going to be a chess match. Then, it’s going to be war. I want the fans to be on their feet. If this is the last one, I want people to remember it.”

“I was here cornering, and the crowd was amazing. I said ‘Hey, I want to fight here.’ It was a pity I couldn’t fight in Paris, but now I get to fight in Ireland. It’s special if you’re fighting on this card. For me, it’s a good moment. I have a lot of people coming from Holland to support me and to be here at the last one.”

“The hand is good. Everything is perfect now. The guys wanted to burgle my house, and I caught them, and I was a little bit pissed. I got like five or six stitches. It recovered well. The moment when I crashed their car with my car, ran, and bust up their window, they were like, ‘No, Manhoef, please!’”

“Why shouldn’t I fight him? He’s from flesh and blood, right? I’ve been in so many wars. Is he going to hit harder than Mark Hunt? I know he can bang, but I can bang too. They should respect what I have done. If I touch you, I touch you good… I have a gameplan, but if you touch me, we’re gonna fight. All the losses I had, I was beating everybody up. Even though they got the ‘W’ I know that I can do something, so we’ll see what will happen on Friday.”

LEAH MCCOURT: NO. 5-RANKED BELLATOR WOMEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“I feel good. I feel calm compared to last time. It feels good to be back in Ireland. I feel privileged. I feel like I’m the ‘home’ fighter, and it’s nice. There’s nothing like walking out at the 3Arena and the crowd. The best. The best energy.”

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“Just what we’ve worked on in the gym. I feel like my skill level and my fight IQ is better than hers… It’s been the best camp I’ve had so far. I just want to go out and show the best version of me, and that’s my goal on Friday.”

“If she hurts her leg, it’s getting kicked off.”

“When we started fighting, having absolutely nothing and not knowing why we were doing it, when we look back it’s why I appreciate these moments. I’m proud of myself and the journey I’ve been on.”

“Every camp, you can improve. I think I learned a lot from the last fight for decision-making. I got caught in the same way I did before, and the guys have definitely helped me make the right decisions and not hold back, so hopefully I’ll show that Friday.”

“I take opportunities as they come, and that wasn’t the path I was meant to be on. I just have to keep pushing, keep trying to improve. Through my faith, my purpose in being here, and my faith in God has given me the strength to push forward. To be a world champion, I believe you have to be able to deal with loss.”

MADS BURNELL: NO. 3-RANKED BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“It’s a good matchup. It’s going to be a great fight. I’m just looking to go in there and do what I do. I have no emotions; it’s just banter. You talk a little sh*t, go in there, and it’s all done. We’re here to put on a show, and that’s what we’re going to do… I think it’s going to be the same as last time: exciting.”

“When two ranked guys are fighting each other, there’s implications of a title fight right around the corner, so I would think so. If I do 80% of what I did to Adam Borics, this guy is going to be in the hospital for three weeks, so…”

“Being at Xtreme Couture and training with all the elite guys that come into that gym, it gives me confidence. You put me against anybody, and I’ll put up a great fight. Nobody in MMA does what I do with boxing. I study a lot of boxing. Back in the day, the gloves used to be smaller. I try to implement a lot of that in MMA. In a way, I think it does me a disservice because a lot of fans don’t know what they’re seeing. If you actually look, I’m like blocking, rolling.”

“The [Irish] crowd was insane. It was like a movie. I think it’s the craziest crowd I’ve ever been a part of in any promotions. I’ve been fighting four times in America, fighting in front of the crowd in Ireland would be great, and here I am.”

“[Carvalho] might be adopted by SBG, but not by Dublin.”

“Right now, my calendar ends on Friday. I’ve got Pedro in front of me, and that’s what I’m focused on. At the end of the day, it’s only me and him in there.”

PEDRO CARVALHO: NO. 5-RANKED BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“The best thing that I can say about my journey is that losses brought me maturity and a vision of things that I did not have. I was a young fella, saying and doing things that at some point was too much. The fall was big, and it was hard to get up, but I got up. I did my research on what I need to improve, and today I can say I have everything I need to be a world champion… I don’t know if I want to say a new Pedro, but it will be a new chapter, for sure.”

“For me, there’s a lot of ways to look at a fight. In a way, in my consciousness, I’m heading into this fight on a two-fight winning streak. I respect someone who has a different idea, but that’s all subjective. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning. I started to shape my fighting in a way that the judges’ like, but there’s always going to be judges looking at some details and not others. Judges are human. Sometimes, these decisions are not going to please everyone.”

“We are fighting in MMA, not in jiu jitsu. I have fought a lot of black belts, and it’s different. Mads excites me. I always wanted to fight him because I want to fight the top guys. If I want to be the best, I have to fight him. I’m not afraid of anything. He mixes his striking very well with his takedowns and of course he’s very good grappling-wise, but there’s no one thing I look at and I say I’ve never fought this before. There’s a lot of things in me that he’s never seen, and that’s what I’m gonna show.”

“I don’t care what he says. He can say whatever he wants. I’m gonna shut his mouth on Friday, and that’s what happens.”

“Having 10,000 people cheering for you is amazing. Last year was amazing. I knew it would be great, but I didn’t know it would be that great. I think this year’s will surpass it.”

“We’ve been in the trenches for years now. Every time we spar, it’s a cracker. It’s worth a few bucks. It’s always great to fight with Peter. Every time we spar, we both know that it’s going to be tough but it’s going to be super safe. Like John Kavanagah says, ‘Improve your software and protect your hardware.’ Every time we spar, that’s it.”

CIARAN CLARKE: BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“You’re going to get to this stage. He’s going to be coming in guns’ blazing, but I’m well-prepared. This camp’s been good. It’s been long. As soon as you find out, it’s in the back of your mind. It’s been good. It’s getting a lot more attention, so I’ve been looking forward to it… He’s kind of that straight Muay Thai style, straight jiu jitsu. I looked at his record and tried to find footage of his fight. I’ve done the IMMAFs, guys from Belarus who I’ve never seen fight before. I’m prepared to go anywhere.”

“He followed me around the last twelve weeks. It’s gonna be good. All the proceeds and money that’s made from it is going to a local charity house in Ireland called Save Our Sons and Daughters; it’s for mental health.”

“It’s a bit of a mad one. You’re visualizing all the scenarios that can happen with this opponent, and then bang, six days out, he pulls out. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What is he doing? The week of the fight?’ But I’ve put in training for this, so I’m prepared. I needed to fight. All the emotions are through my head. I didn’t care. I just wanted someone on Friday night. I’m here in BELLATOR now, so I’m just elated to have a fight… I was just happy to have an opponent.”

Anatoly Malykhin Shocks Reinier de Ridder with Stunning TKO Finish to Capture ONE Light Heavyweight World Title

“I suppose if you look at my record, I stayed amateur for longer. This is my 30th fight now. I put it down to everything. I’ve done it all. I’ve fought the brawler, the grappler, the Brazilian, the Russian, the fella who’s 20 years older than me… those things get you ready for seeing your opponent at the hotel, so it’s great to have that experience.”

“It means a lot coming from John. John pointing to me out of them all… I feel like he’s always put me at the forefront of his mind. I say, ‘How can I thank you?’ He says, ‘Get the wins. That’s how you can thank me.’”

“I hate answering questions when it comes to the future because it’s out of my control. Just getting the win Friday, that’s what I’m focused on. It’s just all systems on. It’s go-time for Friday.”

“Because of what happened even in Ireland in generally, there’s two ways you could go growing up. I would think, ‘What happened? How was I strong enough?’ I didn’t have a different upbringing from some people. I want to help people. It’s a big thing for me. Having people saying that I’m a role model, it’s mad. That’s pressure, as well.”

“I just want to get comfortable in there. I want for that opponent to bring out the best of me. I’m really looking forward and really buzzing for this one. This is my opportunity on Friday to make my highlight tape. I just love the fighting part of it.”

“I’ve learned that I’m a lot tougher than I think. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs at amateur. You get to the age where things need to start happening. I always knew something good would come from this sport; I’ve put too much into this sport to not get something out. That’s the plan, to go in there and get the win.”

“It adds pressure, but I’m fully aware of how much it’s cost for them to get here. I want to go out here and put on a show for people.” https://youtu.be/eeLQZ1CaiH8

BRIAN MOORE: BELLATOR BANTAMWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“Any fighter who has the chance to fight here at the 3Arena, it’s a privilege. I’ll be wearing my flag very proudly. It’s a big deal. I need this win, but I’ve prepared impeccably. The only thing I can do is prove what I’m capable of, and I’ll show that Friday night.”

“This fight is a big fight, and it’ll put me back on the right trajectory. People talk about primes, but I just know that I’m getting better. I can look back at five years ago, and I’m way better. I don’t even think I’m at my prime yet, to be honest.”

“I think this one will be similar, but I think this one will be with a big finish, to be honest. There’s been a lot I’ve had to overcome, but I’ve prepared. He’s a body in front of me, that’s how I feel. He’s just somebody in front of me that I need to dismantle.”

“I’ve used that in my training to push myself harder. I’ve seen him today and there was no emotion. With this guy, I’m zero emotions now. I won’t use them, I won’t show them… He’s not the first opponent I’ve disliked.”

“I feel at a great place in my life, physically, mentally. I’m back to that guy coming up who had a chip on his shoulder. I put work into it. Here I am now, a much better person. It’s a privilege to be here; these are the things I first dreamt of in the sport… I’m gonna go between bantam- and featherweight. I want to be active; I’m quite active as a fighter, but I want to be more so.”

DARRAGH KELLY: BELLATOR LIGHTWEIGHT (VIDEO)

“It’s only my second fight, but I feel so comfortable now. I just get that fighting feeling when I come here. I’m very comfortable here.”

“I think he’s going to be a tough test. A very tough striker who likes to come forward. I think he’s going to be a tough fight, but I don’t see him lasting. I make them an enemy in my own head. I don’t see this as just another day in the office, you’ve got to go in and damage people. There’s nothing personal to him, but all of my opponents are my enemy. You’re coming to take half my money.”

“I put a lot of work in. I focus a lot on my cardio in camp. I know what I can do; I know what pace I can push.”

“It means everything to me, putting on show. I love where I’m from; everyone really gets behind me from home. There’s a few hundred of them coming, and it’s a trek for them, so I always want to do them proud.”

“I think a big performance is going to help me out. I just need to keep showing up, and I’m sure the opportunity will come. I’m always going in prepared for fifteen, I don’t know if I’m expecting fifteen. I see the finish. Maybe not that quick: first round, I would imagine. If not, I’ll get him out in the second.”

“I wouldn’t have believed it if you asked me a few months ago. It’s a dream.”

BELLATOR 285: HENDERSON VS. QUEALLY MAIN CARD:
SHOWTIME (US) / BBC Three (UK) / Virgin Media Two & Virgin Media Sport (IRELAND)
Friday, Sept. 23 – 9 p.m. GMT/4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT

Lightweight Bout: #3Benson Henderson (29-11) vs#5-Peter Queally (13-6-1)
Light Heavyweight Bout: #7-Yoel Romero (14-6) vs. #9-Melvin Manhoef (32-15-1)
Women’s Featherweight Bout: #5-Leah McCourt (6-2) vs. #9-Dayana Silva (10-7)
Featherweight Bout: #3-Mads Burnell (16-4) vs. #5-Pedro Carvalho (12-6)
Featherweight Bout: Ciaran Clarke (5-0) vs. Rafael Hudson (5-3)

BELLATOR 285: HENDERSON VS. QUEALLY PRELIMINARY CARD:
BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel | Pluto TV (US)
BBC iPlayer (UK) | Virgin Media Two & Virgin Media Sport (IRELAND)
6 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

Bantamweight BoutBrett Johns (18-3) vs. Jordan Winski (12-3)
Bantamweight Bout: Brian Moore (14-9) vs. Arivaldo Lima da Silva (19-10)
Light Heavyweight Bout: #6-Karl Albrektsson (13-3) vs. Karl Moore (9-2)
Lightweight Bout: Darragh Kelly (1-0) vs. Kye Stevens (3-1, 1 NC)
Lightweight Bout: Georgi Karakhanyan (31-13-1) vs. Kane Mousah (13-4)
Featherweight Bout: Kenny Mokhonoana (3-0) vs. Alex Bodnar (4-1)
Featherweight Bout: Asael Adjoudj (3-1) vs. Jordan Barton (7-2)
Welterweight Bout: Dante Schiro (9-3) vs. Luca Poclit (7-1)

*Card subject to change