Bellator Fighting Championships will hold a special media conference call today (Jan. 18, 2012) in advance of the promotion's second event on Spike TV, which is expected to begin next week (Jan. 24).
Ben Askren is the current Bellator Welterweight Champion. The "Funky" fighter was an Olympic wrestler who made the transition to mixed martial arts, winning the season two tournament and dethroning champion Lyman Good after five round of dominant wrestling. Since then, Askren has defended his title against Jay Hieron and Douglas Lima and he's hoping to keep that streak alive.
Karl Amoussou was a pretty solid middleweight but after dropping down to welterweight, his career has really taken off. "Psycho" crushed Chris Lozano in the quarterfinals of the season six welterweight tournament then proceeded to win a close decision against David Rickels before putting a cap on the tournament by submitting Bryan Baker in just 56 seconds to earn his title shot. Afterwards, he announced he would bring excitement to the welterweight division again by dethroning the "Lay and Prayer" Askren.
Muhammed Lawal was an elite wrestler who made the transition to MMA, eventually winning the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Title from Gegard Mousasi. After losing his belt to Rafael Cavalcante, he defeated Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin via knockout, sending them both to the middleweight division, although a positive steroid test culminated in his release from the promotion. Lawal would sign with Bellator and will be making his promotional debut next Thursday night in the light heavyweight tournament.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. ET.
King Mo: As far as the pressure, I've been dealing with pressure ever since I started wrestling. I fight hard because I train hard. You have pressure when you have doubts. I have no doubts.
King Mo: Really, I call this guy "Cole slaw" I know "Cole Slaw" is tough, has good submissions but I train with good fighters and I just have to worry about keeping myself healthy for the next round.
Ben Askren: I'm never goann change my style. I am who I am. I'm not afraid to be that guy. I've had a lot of time since my last fight and I made lots of improvements in my game but nothing will ever be as good as my wrestling.
Karl Amoussou: I think obviously Ben is a very good wrestler, that's not a surprise to everybody. I think I'm a more well-rounded fighter and formidable. You never know what's going to happen with me and that's my advantage in the fight. Wherever the fight goes, I'm ready for it. A big mistake is to not think of Askren is only a wrestler. Yes, his biggest weapon is his wrestling but it would be a big mistake to underestimate his ground game or his boxing.
Karl Amoussou: I wouldn't mind doing it (VADA) but I don't really know how it works living in France.
Ben Askren: Wrestling's my background, always will be. Not much else to add besides that.
King Mo: As far as what I've seen last night, those guys were ready, came to fight and it's a tournament. Everyone wants to win and there's going to be upsets, things that were expected and unexpected. I'm not surprised by anything I saw because anything can happen in MMA.
Ben Askren: From what I've watched, Karl has problems with fights go past the first round. I really hope he's done a little more cardio.
King Mo: I'm very excited. It's time to do my thing. I've been out for a year and I don't plan on it happening no more.
Bjorn Rebney: No updates (on Alvarez). My focus is on these amazing fights.
King Mo: I went to Holland to test myself against top fighters and I left there with no injuries.
King Mo: Shoutout to Scott Coker, he was good people to work for and good to deal with. Strikeforce is dead and Bellator is rising. It is what it is, man.
Karl Amoussou: My nerves are good. I'm calm and cool. I'm ready to fight standing up, I'm ready to wrestle and I'm ready to grapple. If fans are ready to boo as often happens in Askren fights if it goes to the ground, but that's not my biggest concern. I'm coming to win the belt.
Ben Askren: People just try to get under my skin. In one of my interviews after the Lima fight, people want to see me lose for whatever reason whether it's my attitude or anything. When I get on top and I do it quickly, they know that I won't get knocked out and they won't submit me. It sucks for them because they know what's going to happen which is 25 minutes of me winning. Come next Thursday, the fans will be disappointed again because there's no way that belt isn't leaving with me.
Karl Amoussou: I train how I used to train and I feel ready for five rounds and even ready for more than five rounds. Every fight is different and when you fight in a different way, you don't need as much energy. My fight pace is really high and that's why I've tired out. Don't worry about my cardio, I'm good.
Bjorn Rebney: It's a great position to be in, we've got this overabundance of riches. We have too many good fights which is an awesome, awesome problem to have. If we have quick finishes, those tournament fights from the Spike.com prelims will get bumped to the televised main card.
Kevin Kay: We had a great night last night and I want to thank a bunch of people before I get to the ratings which are fantastic. First of all the fans which stuck with Spike when we didn't have live MMA.......It was the most watched Bellator event in the history of Bellator. We started the night in the first 15 minutes with 1.2 million viewers. 1.1 watched the Curran-Pitbull fight in the first half hour. We were up 394% and had 938,000 viewers watching the entire broadcast. That's a great start and I couldn't be more excited about next week with Mo and Ben and Karl and this is going to be another tremendous card. Clearly Bellator has tremendous momentum on Spike. We expect another great number and we look forward to next week.