Bellator 189: “Budd vs. Blencowe 2” takes place TONIGHT (Fri., Dec. 1, 2017) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., featuring a Featherweight title defense for “The Jewel” Julia Budd (10-2) against the always-dangerous “Angerfist” Arlene Blencowe (10-6).
Blencowe, a native Australian, worked her way up on the boxing circuit, winning a couple of titles in the process while making the transition to mixed martial arts (MMA). Despite a rough start in her first six professional MMA fights, Blencowe has since rebounded to win eight of her last 10 bouts. The one of those 10 that may haunt her, though, is Bellator 162 in Memphis, where she clearly won at least one round and another was a toss up, leaving Budd to squeak out a majority decision against her in a three-round war.
In other words, Blencowe has the opportunity to exact revenge and claim Budd’s world title, too, later this evening.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with Blencowe about her huge fight in Thackerville tonight and how much she’s anticipating the rematch.
“I’m excited for it, obviously for two reasons -- that it’s a rematch and I get to avenge that, and also the fact that it’s for the Bellator world title. So, yeah, I’m definitely excited.”
Blencowe knows that going into this second fight she’ll have to be just as competitive as she was the first time, but also do a few things a little differently.
“I’ll probably just be a little bit more aggressive. I wasn’t that far off the mark first time so since that fight I’ve been working pretty hard on all my weaknesses, which is obviously the grappling and my ground game and that. I’m pretty confident in that area now. I’m very confident with my striking. I guess I’ll just take the gameplan that my team and I have been working on and come away with the win.”
Blencowe can pair those improvements with increasing confidence given her recent successes in the cage and current three-fight win streak.
“(I have) lot of confidence. A lot of people, fans that have just followed me, probably don’t really know how many training camps and everything have been going. To be honest, the last 12 months since the fight with Julia has probably been my most serious 12 months with MMA. I’ve been able to train properly with grapplers, wrestlers, [jiu-jitsu] people and also better my strength with my hands. The three wins I’ve got this year have shown from that.”
The confidence also comes from knowing she’s won world titles in the past, back when the nickname “Angerfist” was just starting to gain momentum.
“I had an entrance, a fight song that was a bit of a mash-up of songs. One of the first lines of the song was ‘Hi, my name is’ and then ‘Angerfist’ by the group Angerfist, and then it was just a continuation of other songs mashed up. Me transitioning from boxing to MMA, my strengths have always been my hands and my power, so it just I guess stuck from there.”
Blencowe admits that in those days she faltered coming out of the gate in her switch to MMA, but after getting to learn what she needed things changed in a hurry.
“I was a late comer to the sport. I had my debut fight on my 30th birthday weekend, with four months grappling and jiu-jitsu training. In that first year (I) totaled up eight fights, so I mean you can’t learn much from camp to camp when you’re fighting a few weeks apart. I was picking up fights and not really getting the proper training and correcting things that I wasn’t doing right.”
If a fighter can take the cliche, “you learn more from a loss than a win,” and use it to his or her advantage, Blencowe certainly did in her early career.
“My first fight I lost by armbar so I went back to training and really worked on my armbar defense. I lost a fight by rear-naked choke, so that was something that I drilled and drilled and drilled. I took a lot from each of those losses. Yeah, I’ve probably had to work twice as hard to try and fix my record, but it’s one of the things I’ll always be grateful for with Bellator. I was signed with a record of 5-4, which wasn’t crash hot, but they saw something big in me and here I am two years later fighting for the world title.”
With all the improvements she’s made over the years, Blencowe didn’t realize just how close her last fight with Budd actually was until well after it took place.
“I didn’t personally in my own head think like it was a close fight, because I guess to me getting taken down on the ground that’s a little bit disheartening, having to try and fight and get back up again. After rewatching it, yeah, I realized how close it actually was. It probably would have changed if (I had done) a few things in that last round. I had a lot of things going on during that fight I had to overcome so for me I was actually just pleased with how the fight went.”
This time though Blencowe isn’t going to settle for, “I did better than I thought I would.” She’s gunning for gold and expects to get it.
“Having gone three rounds I was competitive with Julia (last time), whereas this time around it won’t be going three rounds. It won’t just be competitive, I’ll be making a statement and winning that title.”
The only question left then is how much of a different a potential two additional rounds makes.
“I’m working on it extremely hard in all of my fight camps and even outside of my fight camps so conditioning isn’t a question. It’s something that if it goes the (five) rounds it’ll be fine.”
By the sound of it, Blencowe is fit and ready to capture a world title tonight in Thackerville — don’t miss it!
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Budd vs. Blencowe 2” resides here at MMAmania.com all weekend long.
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