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John Salter ‘ready for anything’ that Rafael Lovato Jr. brings to Bellator 198

Bellator 198: “Fedor vs. Mir” comes to Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., this Saturday night (April 28, 2018), featuring the latest leg of the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament that pits former Pride FC champion, Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC), against former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Frank Mir (18-11).

The Paramount Network-televised main card that night will also showcase a Middleweight showdown of Brazilian jiu-jitsu skill and grappling will. John Salter (15-3) comes in on a seven-fight win streak, having ripped his way through every opponent since signing with Bellator, including four submissions and one technical knockout. Indeed, even black belts wind up humbled when they face off with him lately.

His long win streak in the division is not the only one, though. Undefeated Rafael Lovato Jr. (7-0) is the second American to win the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (the first was B.J. Penn) and has only gone the distance once in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Much like Salter, you should never let Lovato take your back. recently chatted with John Salter about the chance to get his eighth straight win and what he’s wanted all along ... a shot at the Middleweight title; however, that road to glory goes through Lovato first.

“Yeah, you know I think it was something that it was just a matter of time before it was going to happen. I think it’s a good match up and especially if you’re a jiu-jitsu fan, it’s obviously a big topic and it’ll bring a lot of viewers just based off of that. You get to see two elite jiu-jitsu guys competing in MMA.”

The skeptics might wonder the reason Metamoris only streams online if jiu-jitsu is that big of a draw. Salter is more than happy to make the case for a BJJ-style fight.

“It’s funny when you put two high level guys together like that you’re going to see a lot of the basics the best it can possibly be done, and then you’re gonna see some crazy stuff as well.”

The intrigue may simply lie in a fighter who’s undefeated in Bellator going against one who’s undefeated period. Salter is ready for that challenge.

“It takes a lot of good training partners and finding the RIGHT training partners, because obviously there is no other Rafael Lovato Jr. You’ve just got to find the guys as close to that as you can and find high level black belts that have his build. That’s one thing I’m doing right now. I’m on my way to train with Lucas Lepri, to get that one more good push with him, and just finding these elite guys to go with and different body types and everything so I can be ready for any attack that comes toward me.”

For those unfamiliar with him, Lepri is highly decorated at international competitions, medaling time and again in major tournaments over the last decade. Bellator 198 has no shortage of top talent, though, when it comes to submission artists.

“You’ve got Dillon Danis fighting as well, and then also you know Frank Mir and (Fedor) Emelianenko are both obviously stud grapplers.”

And that’s not even mentioning Neiman Gracie, who finally gets his long awaited match with Javier Torres on this card. The jury is still out, though, on whether Danis can back up his mouth and be money.

“You know I’ve trained with Dillon before, been around him at ADCCs, (so) I don’t know if that’s a social media personality or trying to get his name out there. The little bit I’ve been around him I haven’t had any issues with him, he seems like a nice guy. My only thing (is) I think he needs to slow down a little bit, be careful about fighting a guy who’s an elite MMA guy and you’re just an elite jiu-jitsu guy.”

Thankfully for Danis, he’s getting Kyle Walker, 2-4 in six professional fights, so he at least has a chance. Salter believes he has more than a chance with Lovato thanks to some insider info.

“You know, actually out of nowhere, I wasn’t even planning on training with him because he doesn’t fit Lovato’s match-up at all, but I trained with Paul Bradley a little bit last week. I actually picked up a pretty good tip from him that I liked a lot.”

He’s not divulging what that tip was, though. Whether his path to victory is a submission or a knockout, Salter will take any road that leads to him getting his hand raised at the end.

“I’m gonna be happy with a win however it comes. I think this is one of those fights where I’ve got to go in expecting to fight in all aspects. You know it’s not gonna be straight to the ground, it’s not gonna be on the feet the whole time. It’s going to be both and in between. Anywhere I see my opportunity I’m looking to finish at any time whether it’s with my hands or with my jiu-jitsu.”

By combining together a seven-fight win streak and an ever growing arsenal of BJJ experience, Salter’s confidence is at an all-time high going into the fight on Saturday night.

“I think it’s a little of both and a little of training with elite guys and finding out where I am with those guys. That gives you a lot of confidence when you get in the cage knowing that, okay, I trained with these guys that are top guys in the world, I’m right there with them, we go back-and-forth. It just lets me know I’m ready for anything that’s gonna come at me.”

Tune in for Bellator 198 this Saturday night live and free on Paramount Network to see if Salter is indeed “ready for anything.”

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Fedor vs. Mir” resides here at all week long.

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

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