Bellator 177: “Dantas vs. Higo” takes place this Friday (April 14, 2017) at Budapest Sports Arena in Budapest, Hungary, featuring a main event between Eduardo Dantas vs. Leandro Higo with “Dudu” putting his Bantamweight title on the line along with his pride as a champion.
One of the participants on the Spike TV-televised card has been in Higo’s position before and, unfortunately for him, came up just short. Daniel Weichel had then-champion Patricio Freire rocked at Bellator 138 in St. Louis, but “Pitbull” was saved by the bell and then came roaring back for a second round knockout.
For Weichel, that remains his only loss of his last 10 bouts. And with a current three-fight win streak going, he’s nearing a chance at redemption with a second title shot. Standing directly in his way, though, is John Teixeira, who has ZERO losses in his last 10 fights dating back to 2012.
Weichel recently spoke with MMAmania.com about the big opportunity ahead in Budapest as he prepares to face Teixeira and reassert his claim to a Featherweight title shot. His confidence is high going into this featured Bellator bout.
“Ah, feelings are good. I had a great camp so far really, I feel (like) I’m in the best shape of my life and I can’t wait for April 14th to make it four in a row.”
Part of Weichel’s confidence comes with the knowledge that it’s a short flight from Frankfurt to Budapest — 90 minutes in the air compared to a much longer haul to fight in the States.
“It’s awesome! I can tell you (it’s) like my last fight in Ireland, it felt unreal just to fly for two hours and (to) be at the venue. It’s amazing. It’s just a lot easier for me with the weight cut, and I can bring some friends and fans and family with me, so it’s a great support for me and a good energy.”
Weichel will need all of the “good energy” he can get against Teixeira, a man who has frustrated every single opponent he faced since his last loss at UFC 147 in 2012.
“He is a tough guy definitely. He comes from (a) good team in Brazil. He has an aggressive fighting style. I really respect him as a fighter, but he comes to take something away from me and I won’t let that happen. I trained so hard and I won’t let anybody take this chance for the belt away from me.”
Teixeira’s last five fights have all gone to decision, so Weichel is well aware of the potential for this fight in Budapest to be a grind. He vowed during the interview to not let that happen.
“I expect him to come forward aggressively, but I don’t want to make it look like a close fight. I want to dominate, and I want to dominate from the beginning until the end. I’m always training to get the finish, and I know it (doesn’t) always happen, but I’m working for the finish and when I see my opening I will go for that.”
Weichel could also be describing his fight with Brian Moore in Dublin because that’s exactly what happened — he saw the opening for an arm triangle, went for it and tapped Moore in the first round.
“It was good, especially I like the atmosphere, it was a great atmosphere in the stadium. Yeah, I wanted to pressure on him and show that I’m the No. 1 of the division and that I finish fights.”
“You have to be professional when you want to have a title shot you know? It’s like that. You have to bring the 145 with no excuses. I don’t know what it was that held him back from getting the weight, I don’t know but ... yeah. To become a title shot (contender) you have to be professional, you have to make the weight, and you have to beat No. 1 contenders like me — and I beat him, so I’m next in line.”
I’m pretty sure I could hear the smile on Weichel’s face over the phone, particularly when he scoffed at Sanchez claiming he was the winner of their fight.
“No problem, we can do it again, and this time it won’t go to the judges.”
All of the potential contenders have to wait in line right now, though, because Daniel Straus and Patricio Freire meet for a fourth time on April 21. Weichel just wants to keep winning to prove he’s next.
“You know I knew this fight (could) happen and I wasn’t surprised, but I’m pretty sure that I will bring some pressure in the division — especially in contendership and (to) the title holder.”
Of course, if Freire were to knock off Straus and take the Featherweight title back, that could just lead to one more rematch, one where Weichel would get another chance to finish Freire.
“I welcome that fight. I know that I have all (the) abilities to beat him, and I think I showed that in the first fight. I took my lesson from it in the second round, and this makes me stronger and next time this ain’t gonna happen, and I will take the victory from him.”
Weichel doesn’t let that loss in his last title shot haunt him. He keeps moving forward in Bellator with both physical skill and sheer force of mental will.
“When it gets in the later rounds and your body is maybe a little bit more tired, you still have to keep the focus. It’s easy to say, but it’s not easy to do. You have to train that, you have to concentrate on that, you have to have your inner focus all the time.”
Don’t miss Bellator 177 this weekend to see a “fully focused” Daniel Weichel face a streaking John Teixeira. Complete audio of our interview is embedded in the video player above and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here.