QUOTES & VIDEOS FROM BELLATOR MMA 282: MOUSASI VS. EBLEN

Verbal fireworks were ignited at today’s BELLATOR MMA media day, as fighters from the BELLATOR 282: Mousasi vs. Eblen event shared their anticipation for their explosive night of fights this Friday, June 24.

The event will air live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. 

The preliminary fight card will begin at 6 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. PT, and will be distributed on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel, SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel, and Pluto TV.

Here’s what the fighters had to say:

GEGARD MOUSASI: BELLATOR MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION (Video)

On Eblen: “On fight night, we’re gonna figure it out. He’s good basically everywhere, but nothing where he stands out. His ground-and-pound and submissions are good, but nothing I haven’t seen.”

On the remainder of the year: “After this, end of the year they’re going to keep me busy. I look at it fight by fight nowadays. To be honest, I really don’t care who’s next. I think what BELLATOR’s plan was to fight the light heavyweight champ, but I guess he has a rematch, so I don’t know who they’re going to give me.”

On value: “I’ve always been treated well, from the beginning. They took care of me when I was injured in the Shlemenko fight. I’ve always felt appreciated here, so I’m thankful.”

On the source of his longevity: “Wanting to make more money, that’s the thing.”

On future threats at 185: “Always. Fabian Edwards, [Anatoly] Tokov, Yoel Romero, Corey Anderson, and [Vadim] Nemkov. There’s always another guy, another challenge. Every fight, I respect them and I take it seriously.”

On still celebrating despite so many fights: “Every fight, I have my corners with me. My friends. We always celebrate. When you win, it’s a lot of fun.”

On new training methods: “I didn’t bring anyone special in. I train with heavyweights — it makes it much more difficult for me. Maybe more rest; I need more rest, I’m tired now, I’m older.”

JOHNNY EBLEN – NO. 1-RANKED BELLATOR MIDDLEWEIGHT (Video)

On title: “This was part of the plan. I’ve been honed in and focused on this moment, and I’m ready to execute. I just train to get better every day. There’s no secret, there’s no magic pill. I’m just gonna let it fly and have fun Friday night. It feels good. I feel like I’m at where I need to be.”

On Mousasi experience gap: “Not really a fan of his, but I knew who he was. Not at 12, but following MMA, I knew some MMA fighters and he was a guy I came across. I’d seen a couple of fights.”

On being underestimated: “Sure, he’s confident. Probably looking past me, but I really don’t care. I’m going to go in there and put it on him. I’m ‘Moose’ hunting.”

On different than other wrestlers: “I think I have the skillset to beat Mousasi. I’m not saying Austin [Vanderford] didn’t, not saying [John] Salter didn’t. I think have the skills on the feet. I think I’m a different animal than Austin or Salter.”

On prediction: “If I knock him out or submit him in the first, whatever, I’m game for it. I’m training for five rounds. If I get a finish I get a finish, if I don’t, I don’t.”

On ATT: “The whole camp, we were all pretty hyped about this fight and this fight card. It’s nice to have the energy in the gym and here at the hotel for fight week. We also have Artem Levin, a kickboxing coach, who beat Alex Pereira. I got rounds with Jorge Masvidal, and Dustin Poirier will be in my corner.”

LEANDRO HIGO – NO. 6-RANKED BELLATOR BANTAMWEIGHT (Video)

On Sabatello: “Actually, he only talks sh*t because he’s a piece of sh*t and that’s all he has to offer. This gives a little more fuel to it, and I’m gonna make him pay for everything. I think he’s trying to compensate for something. I don’t see him at a higher level than anyone in this division.”

On weight cut: “Yes, absolutely. I changed a lot of things, the way I was doing things. I didn’t let my weight get too high during the off-season. I changed my diet. I feel like the best Leandro Higo in three years. I’m not here to talk sh*t, I’m not here to play games, I’m here to be world champion and that’s what you’re going to see.”

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On motivation to fight Sabatello: “Every time, my next opponent is the one I’m most motivated about. Right now, I’m looking toward the belt and my legacy.”

On well-roundedness: “When I first came to BELLATOR, a lot of people thought of me as a striker. I was actually a jiu-jitsu guy. I always wanted to be a well-rounded fighter. My coach Eric Albaraccin has been with me for many years. I took all of this to the next level. I’m a very well-rounded fighter and Danny seems to be a one-dimensional one, so I don’t think what he has to offer will be too much for me.”

On 145: “Yes, but not in the near future, especially with all the changes I’ve made. I think I’ve finally found myself in this division, with all the sacrifices I’ve made. Maybe when I’m older, but right now I’m thinking about winning the belt and setting some records in this division.”

DANNY SABATELLO – NO. 9-RANKED BELLATOR BANTAMWEIGHT (Video)
On trash talk: “All I do is talk trash. If you’re going inside that cage with me, I’m gonna get in your head. I believe in mental warfare. My dreams are to be a world champion, and I don’t care who’s in my way. It’s really not just trash talk, it’s facts talk. I don’t view it as talking trash, I’m just speaking facts.”

On being in Higo’s head: “Yeah, I’m 100% in his head. I went back and looked at his previous fights, he’s never talked shit. When you fight Danny Sabatello, it’s completely different. I already got him talking trash. This is not what he’s used to. When he goes out there Friday night, his legs are going to be a little bit heavier and those lights are going to be a little bit brighter. I’m glad that I got him talking trash and that I’m already in his head.”

On running into Higo: “No, I haven’t run into him, which is weird. I think he’s avoiding me. I don’t know what would happen if I did see him, because I feel like maybe there might be a fight before Friday night if I did.”

On ATT: “It’s always through the roof. If you look at any card, there’s gonna be a ton of ATT guys. We push each other. It’s a huge gym, but we’re a tight-knit group. We all flew together down here. We’re looking to go 6/6, but we’re not just looking for 6/6, we’re looking for six finishes. Mike Brown’s the best in the game. It’s not an opinion, that’s just a fact. If he said ‘Go out there and fight Leandro Higo with your eyes closed,’ I’d do it. With Danny Sabatello and Mike Brown together, nobody can fucking stop us.”

On BELLATOR: “I feel like I’m slowly becoming the face of BELLATOR. Just the treatment with them. I’d like to be loyal to them. I love BELLATOR, I love being on SHOWTIME, and I hope I retire with BELLATOR.”

On Raufeon Stots: “Why would they bring that fucking guy in? All he does is stutter. Someone said he has good trash talk. He doesn’t have good trash talk. He does talk trash, but it’s not good. I can’t believe they put him in the commentary booth. It would be fun being in the booth and being on the mic, I just don’t know if I could ever call one of his sloppy fights.”

On schtick or not: “I’ve always been like this. I take competition very seriously. I started wrestling at the age of 4. Competing is just ingrained in me. The fact of the matter is, I’m going in a cage with this motherfucker and he’s trying to embarrass me in front of my friends and family, and I’m not gonna let that happen. This isn’t WWE or fake fucking wrestling. This is real fucking shit in my book.”

MAGOMED MAGOMEDOV– NO. 4-RANKED BELLATOR BANTAMWEIGHT (Video)

On time off before tournament bout: “Yes, of course. The more time you have to prepare, the better, and I definitely had time to prepare from my last fight.”

On Zabit: “Yes, Zabit will be in my corner as always. Of course, I knew about his retirement before everyone else so I had time to process it. Even though he had a lot left to show in this sport, this was his decision, and I support him.”

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On Raufeon Stots: “I have a tough opponent in Barzola, so I definitely don’t want to look past him, but since you’re making me, how much better can it get [than to face Stots again with so much on the line]?”

On Barzola: “Barzola has obviously fought in the UFC and other tournaments, but I’ve been doing this since I was 13 years old. Circumstances are that I don’t have as many fights, but if you add my amateur fights, I have way more experience than him.”

ENRIQUE BARZOLA– NO. 10-RANKED BELLATOR BANTAMWEIGHT (Video)

On the $1M prize: “I’m keeping focused for my fight, for this fight with Magomed [Magomedov] on Friday. It’s very important for me to keep calm. That’s it – because if I think about the money, I don’t stay focused.”

On Magomedov: “I’m ready for him. I’m ready to destroy this guy. This guy has fought with ex-champions in Petr Yan, but now, he’s gonna fight with me this Friday. I have a lot of experience. I fought a lot of fights with Russians, but I’m gonna destroy him.”

On tournament experience: “I have a lot of experience with tournaments. My first tournament was in Peru, but I lost. I was thinking about the money, I was thinking about the finals. I lost because I was thinking about my next fight, that was my mistake. My next tournament was with the UFC with TUF Latin America. Now, it’s my third tournament, in BELLATOR. The most important is to stay calm and keep focused on Magomed. This Friday, I’m gonna kill this guy.”

On the remainder of the year: “I would like to fight three times more. If I continue in this tournament, I need to fight three more. This fight, semi-finals, and the finals. I’d like to fight four more. If my body is ready, let’s go!”

On BELLATOR: “I’m so happy with BELLATOR. It’s true. I’m so happy with BELLATOR. In this division, BELLATOR has super-fighters. Kyoji Horiguchi, Pettis, Mix, Magomed, Stots; BELLATOR has good fighters. Me, the next BELLATOR champion. It’s a good reputation for me and other fighters.”

CAT ZINGANO – NO.2-RANKED BELLATOR WOMEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT (Video)

Re: fans deriding for injury: “Just in general, for everyone. We do heal really fast, and we do go through crazy things; the same thing everyone else goes through, but in 6-8 months we’re doing the same thing again. That’s X-Men stuff, that’s superhuman stuff. When you see people acting like they know, it seemed like a funny thing to call out. Just to defend fighters. If you fight through an injury and you win, you’re a hero. If you fight through an injury and you lose, you’re making excuses.”

On Cyborg fight: “I wasn’t offered that fight. I know coming into BELLATOR, we talked about that that was going to be a fight for sure. I’m relatively new to this weight class, so this is about getting in there and getting settled. Every time we talked about the fight coming about between us, the phone calls would come but it was never her name. I’m focusing on this fight; I know that fight doesn’t even matter right now, because I have to win this fight. I’m focused on Pam Sorenson.

On #1 Contender fight: “I’ve called it that myself. That’s what I’m assuming.”

On Sorenson fight being postponed: “More time is always good. Knowing who I have as an opponent and knowing a date really changes your life because you have focus. Even with needing to postpone the fight, I was able to maintain my gains and just keep doing what I need to do. I’m here, and that’s it.”

On BELLATOR: “I would love to re-sign with BELLATOR. I’m happy over here. I’m happy with the 145lb division. I’d also like to try a 135lb division and see what that would look like for us.”

On 145lb division: “I think everyone’s game. I think everyone works hard. I think it’s a good sign of what we can do at 145lbs.”

AARON JEFFERY – BELLATOR MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTER (Video)

On BELLATOR: “It’s cool, man. It’s kind of surreal, my first time sitting in this room with the lights and the SHOWTIME logo. It’s finally starting to feel real.”

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On Aguiar: “I expect it to be a tough fight. He’s a tough guy, he’s got a great record. I think it’s going to be a good scrap.”

On Niagara Top Team: “We’re finally starting to put some people on the map. Jas is getting pretty popular with the UFC, it seems. I’m looking to make a good impression here in BELLATOR.”

BRENNAN WARD – BELLATOR MIDDLEWEIGHT FIGHTER (Video)

On prediction: “I’m probably just going to do the same thing: finish the fight as early as I can. I don’t like to leave the first round, so I’ll try to get this one done in the first round.”

On main card designation: “Being on the main card, you’ve got to put on a show. We’re all in this together as far as, we won’t have jobs as fighters if we don’t attract viewers and put on a show. Plenty of times when I’m watching a fight card, if I see two guys playing pitter-patter, ‘click.’ I’ll put on hockey or baseball. Go big or go home, really. That’s why BELLATOR puts me on these main cards; they know I’m gonna bring it. I have all finishes. That’s why they put me on the main card.”

On Kassius Kayne: “Anyone who gets in the cage and can make it to this level can fight in this level. We’re both in our 30s. If you’re still kickin’ around in your 30s, you’re a tough dude and you’ve probably got a screw loose. He’s supposed to meet me in the middle and let it fly, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Fighting in front of hometown crowd: “It goes two ways. You get kind of nervous because the place is going to be packed with all your boys and people from work, but then when you’re looking out at the guy you’re going to fight and you can barely hear them introduce you, you get amped up.”

On daughter: “She helps me with the way I approach life, man. I have a tendency to veer off the straightened path. I’m a wild dude; my story’s been well published. She helps me focus. I work hard every single day to make a better life for her. It’s for the family. It’s so she doesn’t ever want for nothing. She helps me stay focused through everything; my whole life, everything.”

On inspiring, motivating: “I hope so. This was a big gamble, letting this out. Confirming people’s thoughts and suspicions about me. I was as bad as it gets. I was out of the game for 5 years, kicking around jail, around rehab. Non-stop cycle of just getting high. It was nasty. If I can come back from it, people should draw inspiration from that. If you wanna judge me, judge me. Draw inspiration from me, don’t judge me. Everyone has something they can fix in their life.”

BELLATOR 282: MOUSASI VS. EBLEN MAIN CARD:
Friday, June 24 – live on SHOWTIME
9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT Middleweight World Championship Main Event: C-Gegard Mousasi (49-7-2) vs. #1-Johnny Eblen (11-0)
Bantamweight World Grand Prix: #6-Leandro Higo (21-5) vs. #9-Danny Sabatello (12-1)
Bantamweight World Grand Prix: #4-Magomed Magomedov (18-2) vs. #10-Enrique Barzola (18-5-2)
Welterweight Bout: Brennan Ward (15-6) vs. Kassius Kayne (12-7)

BELLATOR 282: MOUSASI VS. EBLEN PRELIMINARY CARD:
BELLATOR MMA YouTube channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel | Pluto TV
6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT

Lightweight Bout: #9-Dan Moret (15-7) vs. Killys Mota (12-3)
Featherweight Bout: Lucas Brennan (6-0) vs. Johnny Soto (4-2)Lightweight Bout: #2-Brent Primus (11-2) vs. #8-Alexander Shabliy (21-3)
Featherweight Bout: #2-Cat Zingano (12-4) vs. #6-Pam Sorenson (9-4)
Middleweight Bout: #5-Anatoly Tokov (30-2) vs. Muhammed Abdullah (11-5, 1 NC)
Welterweight Bout: #10-Sabah Homasi (16-10) vs. Maycon Mendonca (11-5)
Flyweight Bout: #5-Alejandra Lara (9-5) vs. Ilara Joanne (9-6)
Featherweight Bout: #9-Cody Law (6-0) vs. James Gonzalez (8-5)
Middleweight Bout: Fabio Aguiar (18-2) vs. Aaron Jeffery (11-3)
Lightweight BoutMandel Nallo (8-2, 1 NC) vs. Bryce Logan (12-6)