Bellator 233: “Salter vs. van Steenis” takes place this weekend (Fri., Nov. 8, 2019) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., streaming live online via DAZN. Top-ranked Middleweights meet to compete as John Salter (16-4) and Costello van Steenis (12-1) hope to earn a world title shot against Rafael Lovato Jr. with a big win.
Undefeated Welterweight Logan Storley (10-0) would also like to get into contention in his division. Coming off a title change at Bellator 232, the division is once again open for fresh blood to make their move, but he’ll have to move past men like Lorenz Larkin, Andrey Koreshkov and Neiman Gracie to get it.
“Yeah, we got the contract done and then we were just waiting. We’ve been shifting around to different fighters, and so this is what they came up with. You know he (Brooks) was a former Division I wrestler and you know he’s no slouch. He’s a good competitor.”
Brooks is also currently on a five-fight win streak that includes a win over Guilherme Bomba at Bellator 181, so he’s not just a “good competitor” but a very real fight for Storley.
“Yeah, I mean we had a few other guys (in mind) and this is what they came up with, kind of last (minute), kind of short notice. I mean at the end of the day you’ve got out there and compete. It doesn’t matter who it’s against.”
It was always in Storley’s mind to compete this weekend ... regardless of who it was.
“You know I haven’t fought in a while, and so we were trying to get on cards earlier and nothing (materialized). A lot of guys were busy and so finally we got this fight so, honestly I was just ready to fight, you know?”
I often read fighters saying they are “too busy” as code for “I don’t want to lose to a guy who has more to gain than I do,” so I asked Storley if he felt fighters were ducking him.
“I’m sure. Especially for guys who don’t want to face that wrestling and that grinding (of mine). You know they know that I’m a bad match up for them. I mean everyone has their own specific skill set, but there’s a big difference from my wrestling and my pace from what a lot of guys have faced. I train with four of the top guys in the Top 15 at Welterweight in UFC and I’ve got multiple guys in Bellator from (1)45 to 185. I train with one of the best gyms in the world so I know exactly where I’m at.”
Storley isn’t exaggerating. He’s rolling with Hard Knocks 365 and absolutely merciless fighters like UFC Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“Robbie Lawler is a guy I spend almost every day with. And then you have Usman, and Chandler, and Gilbert Burns, Vicente Luque was in for this fight camp. God you know there’s just all kinds of guys. Michael Johnson, Jason Jackson, the list goes on and on. These are just guys that you get in there every day with and they’re all world class guys. I really enjoy training with that because if you do something wrong they’re going to find that mistake and they’re going to help you. A lot of those guys I’ve helped with their wrestling (too) and so it’s a two-way street. They help me and I help them. It gives you a lot of confidence going into every fight knowing you’re facing the top guys in the world on a daily basis.”
Getting back to Brooks, though, I wanted Storley’s thoughts on where Brooks could make the fight the most dangerous for a largely dominant and totally undefeated fighter.
“You know he does a great job of just being hard to hit and hard to get a hold of. You watch his fights (and) he moves really well. He moves backward the whole time — not backward (alone), but you know he moves side to side and backward. It’s hard to get a hold of him and it’s hard to hit him with a clean shot. You have to pick your shots right and be smart about it.”
Storley not only rates Brooks as an elusive striker but a high caliber wrestler that’s going to make life getting takedowns quite difficult.
“At the same time he’s got good wrestling. Hardly anybody’s taken him down. He’s got big legs and he’s heavy. You know it’s going to be one of those fights where you have to pick your shorts smartly, but I’m going to go in there and set the pace. You know that’s what I do. Even if I get stuffed on a couple of shots, no big deal, because I can keep that pace the whole time.”
So for Storley going into Bellator 233, cardio is going to be key. He believes that no opponent has a bigger gas tank than he does thanks to his high level amateur experience.
“I can win those transitions and those scrambles because that’s what I’ve done every fight. Even situations where I get stuffed on a takedown, you’re going to have to fend ‘em off for 15 minutes, and you’re going to have to keep the pace for 15 minutes. On the cage in positions like that is where you really start to open up a fight. It’s going to be a tough fight. I know that, I understand that, and I’m excited for it.”
And if you’ve never seen Logan Storley before Friday, you should be excited for it, too.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of Bellator 233: “Salter vs. van Steenis” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.
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