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Bellator 254 ‘Macfarlane vs Velasquez’ virtual media day Q&A | Live updates

Fighters are scheduled to start chatting today at 1:30 p.m. ET from inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Bellator 254 media day Q&A

Bellator 254: “Macfarlane vs. Velasquez” takes place later this week (Thurs., Dec. 10, 2020) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Undefeated women’s Flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0) takes on rising star Juliana Velasquez (10-0) in the main event of the evening.

Several select fighters are scheduled to participate in what the promotion is calling a “Virtual Media Day” this afternoon (Tues., Dec. 8, 2020), starting at 1:30 p.m. ET. Expected participants include:

Cody Law (1:30 p.m.) - Bellator Featherweight
Juliana Velasquez (1:45 p.m.) - Bellator Flyweight
Matheus Mattos (2:00 p.m.) - Bellator Bantamweight
Nate Andrews (2:15 p.m.) - Bellator Lightweight
Ronny Markes (2:30 p.m.) - Bellator Heavyweight
Linton Vassell (2:45 p.m.) - Bellator Heavyweight
Goiti Yamauchi (3:00 p.m.) - Bellator Lightweight
Magomed Magomedov (3:15 p.m.) - Bellator Bantamweight
Davion Franklin (3:30 p.m.) - Bellator Heavyweight
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (3:45 p.m.) - Bellator Flyweight

Selected news and memorable quotes from the participants will be available below.


Cody Law: “I don’t know that I was necessarily prepared for it, but I visualize a lot and see things playing out in my head. I guess I prepared for it mentally but I’m just rolling with how things go. I think (Kenny Champion) is a good match up for me. It’s a step up in competition but it’s an easier fight for me. Maybe he’ll come forward. He should stand in front of me a little bit more.”

Law: “I train every day. I live inside American Top Team so I train every day.”

Law: “It’s been good. I have a pretty good system down where I spend three months at ATT then go home to Pennsylvania to see my family for a week and a half. I get that out of my system and I get back to the gym and I’m super focused.”

Law: “It’s a dream come true. I’m surrounded by people like me. Just being around them, having guys like Mike Brown watching my sparring sessions, how can I not grow as a fighter?”

Juliana Velasquez: “It’s been a horrible year for everyone but I look forward to finishing it with a big win.”

Velasquez: “At the end of the day the fight starts standing up so if I get the opportunity to knock her out I’ll knock her out. I’ll go for the submission if we’re on the ground but if we’re standing I’ll look to knock her out.”

Velasquez: “I don’t think this one year (layoff) makes too big of a difference for me. The training never stops. Training with flyweight and bantamweight men, being that I train a lot with men ends up being more difficult than the fight itself.”

Velasquez: “I have a lot of respect for (Ilima-Lei) as I’ve had respect for every one of my opponents in here. It doesn’t matter how popular she is. I’m here to do a job and I’m here to finish this fight off and take the belt home with me.”

Velasquez: “This is a difficult fight for both of us. We both bring challenges to the other that neither of us have ever seen before. I’m not too sure where this fight will be won but in my mind this fight won’t be lost. I’m prepared to take the fight anywhere. Like I said I do like to strike and if I get the opportunity to knock her out I’ll knock her out, if I can submit her I’ll submit her, and if I have to go the distance I’ll do that too.”

Velasquez: “I was supposed to fight the champ last December and it’s frustrating at times but my job is to fight who they put in front of me and that’s what I did. Due to the pandemic everything stalled out and that was frustrating but I’ve put that behind me and now I’m here to win the title.”

Velasquez: “I don’t really mind. I wouldn’t have minded fighting her in Hawaii in her home, that wouldn’t have put any pressure on me. Fighting in Connecticut is a much shorter flight. Other than that it doesn’t make a difference. It doesn’t change anything for me.”

Velasquez: “After being a champ I’ll definitely smile a lot more, that’s for sure. I don’t really pay attention to the rankings. I’ve never even looked it up. It doesn’t even bother me. Very few fighters have the record I do and that’s what’s important.”

Velasquez: “Most of my training is done with men and yes it can be very difficult. Some days I just want to leave practice crying. As much as they beat up on me they still treat me like their princess and I’m well trained for this fight.”

Velasquez: “I believe this fight is going to come down to who wants it more. In my mind I don’t see anybody who wants this championship more than myself.”

Matheus Mattos: “Patricio our general won the first battle but the war (with SBG Ireland) has just begun. Brian Moore, James Gallagher, who else? Just send them to me.”

Mattos: “I’ve been thinking about fighting (Magomedov) for a long time. The first fight in ACB he fought on the same night. He was worried about me since that day. My training was perfect for him, my game against his game I just want to be aggressive. I can visualize this fight with my hand being raised in the end. No matter what he does I will come out and hurt him.”

Mattos: “I don’t think my game actually changed, I just think I have improved my wrestling and grappling, which helps to make my striking better. I don’t worry about takedowns or jiu-jitsu, I just want to hurt him and make him surrender no matter what.”

Mattos: “I want to be patient because my last fight was two months and seven years ago. I want just to focus on this fight and see what we can get with this win. (To be the future champion) that’s my plan.”

Nate Andrews: “Gotii’s probably going to be one of the top guys I’ve had to fight skill wise. Anywhere in the fight is going to be tough but I’m looking forward to showing my skills on the feet and on the ground.”

Andrews: “It was tough to train for a full training camp and then not fight (in March) and then after that everything really slowed down. Things start opening up and things went back to normal inside the gym but luckily I have my own gym so I was able to stay pretty active most of the time.”

Andrews: “I don’t know how it’s going to end but it’s going to end with my hand raised. I plan on getting another finish on my record and putting my name as a staple in Bellator.”

Ronny Markes: “Always I prefer fans you know? The crowd is better for the fighter. They push you. It’s nice for the show. I understand the situation that we’re in now and we need to follow the rules.”

Markes: “Of course (I want) Josh Barnett but right now my focus is Linton. He challenged for the title twice and he’s a very tough dude, but yeah in the future I want Barnett. I don’t know his situation right now. I respect him, he’s a legend, he had a beautiful career but I expect to fight him in the future.”

Markes: “I feel good. I feel right now this fight can happen. I think this fight can happen right now. I’m very excited for this fight. I had to stay away from my family for four months because of the coronavirus situation. My family can’t come back, they can not renew the visa, they’re still there (in Brazil). Man I’m very excited to win this fight and get back to my family. I’m going to give this win to my family.”

Markes: “I really like to stay busy but I train with a lot of killers every single day.”

Markes: “I think I have a lot of credit but I don’t think about a title shot. Who deserves the title shot is Tim Johnson. He’s my teammate he worked hard for his last two wins. After Linton I need one or maybe a couple more fights. I’d like to stay busy. I don’t think about the title right now.”

Linton Vassell: “I felt like the first fight (at heavyweight) I came in too heavy thinking the heavier you are, the better you are. It’s totally different. I felt like them extra pounds that I had on definitely played a factor. I went back, spoke to the coaches. I walk around at 240 anyway, there’s no need to add on extra. My performance (against Sergei) showed that I’m here to stay.”

Vassell: “I’m not bothered about the ground game (against Markes) because I’ve trained with black belts, I’m a grappler myself. I’m more than happy to show him I’m the better grappler on the ground.”

Vassell: “It’s nice to have people chanting your name, but at the end of the day when you fight you sort of zone out anyway. You end up having tunnel vision and you’re just on autopilot a little bit. But yeah I’m going to miss the fans.”

Vassell: “It wasn’t nice cutting that weight (to 205) but I had such a good run at light heavyweight. I had two title fights. So that’s why I kept at it. Now at heavyweight I do think to myself why did I do that to myself? Now I feel good. I feel amazing.”

Vassell: “Cutting weight you can’t eat you can’t drink. You get antsy, you get agitated. In the training room, I can give my all (at heavyweight). For people who are thinking of doing it (not cutting weight) I’d suggest giving it a go. Definitely give it a try.”

Vassell: “I was at Sanford MMA, my gym up in Florida. I had quite a lot of people helping me for this camp. Steve Mowry, he fights for Bellator himself, signed athlete to the roster. Rumble Johnson, Viktor Pesta, the list goes on and on. I’ve had good training partners. I’m ready man, I’m ready for this.”

Vassell: “I feel like there’s other than the champion there’s two people above me — Tim Johnson and (Valentin) Moldavsky. That’s exactly where I feel like I am. A big win over Ronny I’d like to fight one of them next.”

Vassell: “I would like to say (Jason Jackson) has a good two or three number of fights (before a title shot). He’s an amazing athlete, an amazing friend as well. If he keeps performing like he did against Benson (Henderson) he’s ready.”

Goiti Yamauchi: “I will always tell you that I deserve the title shot, but it’s not up to me. I’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to earn your (shot). You’ve got to have convincing wins and (then) Scott (Coker) comes to you and says ‘Boy you deserve the title shot.’ It’s all about timing. I have to make some big fights before the five rounds against the champion. I want to be a solid champion. I want to be a double champion. I want to be the best in this organization. I dream big! It’s all about timing. I’m young, I’m just 27 years old. People keep saying I’m young. That’s good! I’m fighting high profile athletes and I’m still young. That’s an advantage. My time is coming and I’m getting ready for it.”

Yamauchi: “We could have like a pre-title fight, like me against somebody else, the two top guys in the division fighting each other to Patricio. We can’t sit there and do nothing, we’ve got to compete, so we’ll see.”

Yamauchi: “Former champions like Ben Henderson, Brent Primus. I know they want to fight me, I know they want this fight too, so I’m here I’m counting them up. Let’s go. We want the gold. Let’s go.”

Yamauchi: “I think Pitbull is the favorite. I think he’s the most important fighter of this organization. Everything can happen (though). He’s got some tough opponents in this (featherweight) tournament but we’ll see. I hope he don’t hurt himself so bad he can’t come back to the lightweight division and we can have a fair fight.”

Yamauchi: “I think it’s going to be (Chandler’s) biggest opportunity to show what he’s looking for. I wish him all the best (in UFC). Hopefully he get that belt.”

Yamauchi: “It was tough times this year. There was a lot of change not just in the training camp but in my whole life. I’m just happy to be here, fighting, competing, even cutting weight I’m just happy to be here. I just love it. Thank you so much everybody.”

Magomed Magomedov: “I don’t want to look past Matheus Mattos. He’s beaten some really good guys. I’m focused on beating him and once that’s done Bellator can decide where that puts me in title contention and the rest will sort itself out.”

Magomedov: “I wasn’t really keeping an eye on (Mattos). I heard ACB signed a top prospect in Brazil. He was undefeated. What I wrote him on Instagram was ‘Hey you’re going to lose that 0.’ He did and then he left.”

Magomedov: “People just focus on the one fight that I lost (with Yan) which is a very close fight, but people forget I also beat him and that I’ve had 16 fights and all the guys were top fights. There were no gimme fights. It’s also the same for him. His one loss is to me.”

Magomedov: “The division is stacked. There are no easy fights at 135 on the way to the title. That’s the goal though.”

Magomedov: “I’ve been fighting for a long time. I wasn’t expecting an easy opponent and the fans now are too educated to see anything else. I’m here to fight whoever they put in front of me and do my job. So it doesn’t matter.”

Davion Franklin: “My main focus this camp was pacing myself. It’s all about the pace. It’s not that I didn’t have the cardio, it’s just about pacing myself.”

Franklin: “With all due respect to J.W. Kiser, I think he’s a sweetheart of a guy, but he’s 43 years old and he’s a smaller heavyweight. When he faced me he was more in shape, but Anthony Garrett also got taken down by him, so I don’t think you can compare the two. Kiser is a nice guy though.”

Franklin: “At this level of my career right now, everybody I fight is going to have more experience than me. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

Franklin: “I love it at Jackson-Wink, it’s high elevation training and high level coaches. What’s not to love?”

Franklin: “The last prediction I made, it didn’t go so well, so I learned my lesson.”

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane: “My other fights were very strategic, but with Juliana (Velasquez) it’s going to be a very physical fight.”

Macfarlane: “Honestly whatever happens I hope it doesn’t change anything as far as wanting to do the fight. I think if she wins or I win there should still be a grand prix for the women’s flyweight division. I would like to see it, we haven’t had our chance, so I think it’s just time. Had the pandemic not happened we would be in a tournament right now.”

Macfarlane: “I’m really starting to enjoy the process, enjoy the camps, enjoy the evolution of my skills as a mixed martial artist. Now I feel a lot more relaxed, not taking my opponents lightly, but I don’t have as much pressure as people think I have being champion. I’ve reached a lot of the heights one could reach in their career.”

Macfarlane: “She’s ready to be champion. She works hard and she wants this a lot, and stylistically too she’s a black belt in judoka which I’ve never faced before.”

Macfarlane: “I’m 100% behind Heather (Hardy) and asked her to share her experience with being paid in the boxing industry as a woman. We’re homies and I completely support everything that she’s fighting for.”

Macfarlane: “We don’t have to fight for equal pay or exposure because of promotions like Bellator and promoters like Scott Coker.”

Macfarlane: “Unfortunately we haven’t been able to do anything because what my scholarship provides is travel opportunities for these girls and we aren’t able to do that in 2020. My next goal though is to rent a trailer or a RV and do a cross country road trip and visit reservations and put on free self-defense seminars. I’ve been able to do several during the pandemic and I have another lined up after this fight. I don’t charge anything as long as it’s involving native women and girls. I don’t charge anything because that’s not how I make my money and this is how I give back.”

Macfarlane: “There wasn’t anything official but post-fight when they said ‘Who do you see next?’ I threw her name out there. I think I said her name after the Valerie fight but I threw a couple of names out there.”

Macfarlane: “I don’t even understand how odds work honestly. I’ve never bet on anything in my life before. I also don’t care about numbers going into a fight though, I never have. You want to stay away from ego as much as you can before a fight.”


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