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Interview: Bellator 137's Kendall Grove ready to weave a spider's web around Brandon Halsey

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Kendall Grove maintains an enviable level of mainstream mixed martial arts (MMA) recognition as the winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3. However, his web of fights has only been woven around one Middleweight title in a 12-year professional career. Tomorrow night, though, he'll attempt to double that total against Brandon Halsey.

Kendall Grove
Kendall Grove
Bellator MMA

Kendall Grove is a well-known mixed martial arts (MMA) commodity, having competed in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 back in 2006, which launched "Da Spyder" into national prominence after his win over Ed Herman at the Finale.

The Hawaiian was branded as a superstar and possibly even a future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion.

However, that same year, another "Spider" rose to prominence in MMA when Anderson Silva demolished Rich Franklin at UFC 64, beginning a reign of terror as Middleweight champion that stretched all the way until 2013. Meanwhile, Grove traded wins and losses for the UFC without putting together a long-enough streak to earn a title shot and was ultimately released from his contract in 2011.

In his time on the regional circuit, Grove claimed the ShoFight middleweight title with a split decision win over Derek Brunson; however, his quest for greater glory in the mainstream spotlight has not been diminished. Having found his way to Bellator MMA, Grove earned a title shot against Brandon Halsey with his submission of former light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu, in what will mark the first-ever defense for "The Bull" since beating Alexander Shlemenko.

Recently, Grove sat down with MMAmania.com about his Bellator MMA title aspirations and the hard work he put in to face the undefeated Halsey before their 185-pound title fight tomorrow night (May 15, 2015) inside Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.

"I spent 12 hard weeks away from my family. I mean, I went home for Easter to visit them for the week, but most of the time I was up here. I missed my daughter's birthday, I missed my wife's birthday. I put a lot into this fight so for me going into this fight, it has to mean something. I gotta go out there and get my wife her birthday present, I gotta get my daughter their birthday present, it's that championship belt."

There are several pre-fight rumors swirling that Grove believes "The Bull" may have used bovine growth hormone to enhance his performance, but Grove dismisses that as hyping up the fight, saying both tests will come back clean.

"People talk, you know? But I'ma leave it at that. We both had drug tests yesterday, I'm sure he passed, obviously I passed ... I requested it. We're gonna fight, and may the best man win. If he's doing it, if that's what he has to do so be it, but the truth comes out. He's trying to get in my head, I'm trying to get in his, and I think I won."

Grove noted that injuries play a bigger part in performance than chemical enhancement, anyway, so naturally the question had to be asked how close to injury free he is himself after a 12-week camp.

"I'm pretty close. I did this camp smart, hard, smart, listening to my body. I had good people around me telling me the same thing, pushing me when I needed to be pushed. I'm gonna peak at the right time, I trained with great wrestlers, got to train with good strikers, and I'm more than ready you know?"

Since both Halsey and Grove have picked up 50 percent of their wins via submission, it's an interesting style clash that could conceivably have led both men to stand and trade, but Grove has his own view of the match.

"I see we're going to (be) in a big grappling match with punches. I'ma try to make him pay, in any position that I can. If I can strike him I'm gonna strike him. When I gotta defend, I'll defend. I'm gonna stay in this fight as long as I can and if he can beat me, hey, you're the champ."

He's also got words of warning for Halsey if he thinks the fight will be as quick as his title win against Shlemenko.

"All that shit that you're talking, you're gonna run right through me, don't blink this is gonna be fast ... Hey buddy! All that shit talking? You better deliver!!"

Whichever way the fight goes, Grove wants to hold a "prestige title" in MMA, one equal to winning the trophy at the end of TUF 3. And to take a piece of Halsey's heart along with it.

"I'm looking forward to giving him his first loss ... that's gonna be even better than that belt."

The complete audio of our interview with Kendall Grove is below, and we'll have complete coverage of Bellator 137: "Halsey vs. Grove" all next week including weigh-ins, live fight results and a post-fight recap.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.