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Bellator 171: Jarod Trice 'ready to bang' with Kevin Woltkamp, gunning for first pro MMA finish

Bellator 171: "Guillard vs. Njokuani" comes to Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kans., this Friday night (Jan. 27, 2017), featuring a Catchweight (180 pounds) main event between "The Young Assassin" Melvin Guillard against Chidi "Bang Bang" Njokuani live on Spike TV.

Earlier in the night, fight fans live in Mulvane and watching at home on (or with the Bellator mobile app) will have a chance to see Heavyweight prospect Jarod Trice make his second professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bout. Trice acquitted himself well in Thackerville last month, facing replacement fighter Tommie Britton when his original opponent, Brandon Lee, backed out, turning in a mostly lopsided unanimous decision.

To remain undefeated, Trice will have to return on short notice to take a more experienced opponent in Kevin Woltkamp (1-2). And despite that seemingly lackluster record, Trice is working hard in training to prepare for this fight.

"The camp's been awesome! Lot of big guys in my camp, man. Tyrell (Fortune) is in my camp, we both train at the same spot so it's me and him, Clifford Starks, Trevor Smith, Matt Frincu and Kyle Stewart. It's a pretty big camp. I had a pretty big camp for big men."

It's no coincidence that Fortune is also fighting on the same card, and for Trice that's a good thing since they can each peak for a fight at the exact same time.

"It's great timing right now, man! I feel good, I'm happy with my conditioning and how I've prepared myself for this fight and I'm excited."

Before we go any further, though, Trice needs to set the record straight about the judges' scoring of his debut fight. It sounds like somebody in Thackerville may need to take math again, but Trice blames machine and not man.

"The score machine was broke. They actually announced it after the fight, that it was a unanimous decision. All scores should have been the same for every card, every judge. It was a unanimous win, they announced it after the fight, they actually put on the highlight as a unanimous win as well."

Unfortunately, Bellator must have prepared their "complete results" e-mail before that error was fixed, because my official summary says 28-28, 30-25, 30-26. The erroneous 28-28 score would theoretically be a 30-27 or better. (For what it's worth I checked Sherdog as well -- they also still list it as a majority decision, not unanimous.) Whatever the actual score may have been, Trice is satisfied with his performance against Britton in his professional debut, but also a little bit critical that he could have been more aggressive.

"I'm happy I got it out of the way. In my opinion, it wasn't the best for me how I didn't get the finish or whatever, but I'm looking forward on to my next few fights, getting finishes from here on out. I have a few things to work on. There was a lot of stuff going on in my mind at the time so, I kinda just forgot a few things (while I was) on top. I had a few opportunities where I should have finished it off, but I didn't, but next time'll be different."

Trice expanded on what he meant given that his dominance on top didn't appear to have missed anything going by at least one judge's scorecard.

"Aw man, knowing when I get into a dominant position on top to finish the fight out with punches, man. Just continuous punches. Punching the guy in the face. Not stopping until the referee stops the fight instead of me just looking for a specific shot to look for a knockout. Just finish the fight the best way possible, and get out of the cage, man. Don't make the fight longer than I have to make it.

Trice has another opportunity in front of him this weekend in the form of Woltkamp. And he's taking this chance to shine again on the big stage seriously.

"I mean, you gotta respect everybody so far that gets in the fight game. So you know like, uh, (I'm) coming to bang man and I'm looking for a finish -- possibly a knockout!"

There's no question fighters should respect any opponent regardless of their records, but would Trice prefer a tougher test than somebody who is 1-2 in three fights?

"There probably always is a tougher guy, but I mean this is who it is for right now. I mean it doesn't really matter, record doesn't really matter too much, there's no telling how that guy got scored by a judge or whatever. At the same time, I'm ready to bang and I don't care who is in front of me."

On a related note, can you even do much scouting on a guy with only three pro bouts, who got his first win just last month in a fight that only went 98 seconds? How much film can there be?

"He had a few amateurs before that, though, so I mean like, pro fights three, but at the same time amateur fights so he had a few of those I saw. I looked him up a little bit, he likes to stand up, he likes to bang, and I've seen everything. I'm probably going to test his chin this week."

Trice believes he's not the only one who will be testing chins on Friday night.

"You got 'The Caveman,' the hometown guy, then you have Chidi 'Bang Bang' dude! That guy's amazing. He's got knockout power, good kicks, I'm really excited to watch him fight. Man you got big ol' Tyrell. It's a pretty decent card. A.J. (McKee)'s on the card too! That's great because he just fought last month too with me, last card I fought on!"

Don't miss Bellator 171 this weekend to see if Trice and McKee can't both make quick work out of a quick turnaround. Complete audio of our interview is embedded in the video player above and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.

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