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Live! Bellator 242 virtual media day Q&A

Fighters are scheduled to start chatting today (Weds., July 22) at 1:30 p.m. ET from inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

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Bellator 242 Virtual Media Day

Bellator 242: “Bandejas vs. Pettis” takes place this weekend (Fri., July 24, 2020) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The first Bellator MMA show in three months will be headlined by Bantamweight contenders Ricky Bandejas (13-3) and Sergio Pettis (19-5), each looking to notch their third straight win in a division currently lacking a world champion.

Both fighters are scheduled to participate in what the promotion is calling a “Virtual Media Day” this afternoon (Weds., July 22, 2020) starting at 1:30 p.m. ET. Reporters (including yours truly) will be on board via Zoom to ask questions about the card this Friday night. Participants will include (but not necessarily be limited to) Solo Hatley Jr., Jay-Jay Wilson, Jason Jackson, Aaron Pico, Tywan Claxton, Jordan Mein, and our two aforementioned 135-pound headlining fighters.

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


Hatley Jr.: “A lot of people sleep on Bellator, but I think Bellator has just as good if not better fighters than UFC. I’d be happy if I finished my career out in Bellator. I’m very blessed that Bellator gave me the opportunity against Bolanos, and after that they signed me and now I’ve got the opportunity to fight Pico.”

Hatley Jr.: “MMA has politics. I know they want Aaron Pico to win, but after I win they’ll have no choice but to promote me.”

Hatley Jr.: “Almost every time game plans go out the window as soon as the fight starts, when you’re getting kicked and punched. Pico’s a good striker, he’s a great wrestler, with him I’m just have to going to see how the fight goes and how he reacts.”

Hatley Jr.: “Everybody knows him. Nobody really knows me. Of course he’s going to be that big of a favorite. He’s a real great fighter but they were hyping him up before he even had a fight. He’s the same age as me but we came up differently. Before he even had a fight they were promoting him as a superstar. He’s won some, he’s lost some, but they’re still promoting him as the next big thing. Of course he’s going to be that much of a favorite.”

Wilson: “I feel like it gives me more of an advantage. I have a little bit more energy. It is what it is being the young guy in this game.”

Wilson: “My striking is amazing. I’ve been doing kickboxing since I started martial arts. You guys haven’t been able to see that yet so I’m looking to demonstrate it for you in this fight.”

Wilson: “We had a small group. We had some wrestlers, a few jiu-jitsu people and strikers, and we kept it a closed group between each aspect of the game. We just worked through it. The quarantine didn’t really affect me. The gyms started to open up again but Governor Newsom closed them again a couple of weeks ago, but that didn’t affect me because I was ready for the fight.”

Wilson: “Claxton’s jiu-jitsu... I can’t rate his jiu-jitsu. I can rate his wrestling, but sorry, his jiu-jitsu’s not good. Cardio is the one (thing) that wins this fight. I can go all day. He’s super explosive but I want to see how he does after I take that power away from him.”

Wilson: “What happened was when this pandemic first hit I was in New Zealand. I thought I’d go home for a month, spend some time with my family, show love to my old gym. I flew back to San Diego, where I now live, two days before the lockdown. I was working one on one with all my coaches so we could keep training because I heard there was a possibility of a match up so I kept myself fit.”

Jackson: “That fight with Ed Ruth was a learning lesson. I thought I won the fight, but I needed that.”

Jackson: “(I see myself) as champion in the next year or two, believe it or not.”

Jackson: “I never go in there anticipating I can finish, no matter how good or bad he is, I just anticipate he’s not going to beat me. That’s one thing that’s inside of my heart — the W.”

Jackson: “I feel like a lot of people forget that I had a lot of setbacks and I’m still moving forward. I believe that I’m in my prime and this is my time. The two injuries I had, the second one was the biggest sign of my life, I said no way I’m going to sit here for a year and do nothing. That’s when I started my company and it’s doing good. That was the biggest lesson. Just because you can’t do something doesn’t mean you can’t do something else.”

Jackson: “We’re here, and we’re going to keep moving forward no matter what.”

Bandejas: “It’s not your typical fight week. You just adapt and get used to it. It’s a huge opportunity the way everything worked out. I’m excited to be the main event and I hope I can capitalize on this. I’m staying focused on the goal which is to beat Pettis, and hopefully when I beat him I can get back one of those losses (to Mix or Archuleta).”

Bandejas: “When you set out in this profession you hope to headline a card one day. This is a big event and I’m really excited.”

Bandejas: “I know (Pettis) is sharp and a good counter fighter, so I won’t be too wild, but I’ll be ready for whatever happens. Say I beat Pettis and a rematch with Gallagher, in Ireland, that would be great and it’s only going to help my stock.”

Bandejas: “I think he (Pettis) folds under pressure. I think he gets a little tired. I hope I’m right and we’ll find out on Friday.”

Pico: “I was hearing rumors of a fight in July, I wasn’t sure but that’s what I was hearing. The middle of May is when I started getting with my nutritionist and getting my weight down. The middle of May was when I started getting it together looking for whatever date in July.”

Pico: “I was riding my horse and chilling out, but I was also with Coach GIbson five to six days a week in his garage. I had two months with Greg Jackson, a nine week official camp.”

Pico: “I like this way better than an official fight week. We all have our own saunas, training room. When all this craziness is over they should keep doing it this way. I don’t have to be in my sauna with my own opponent. I like this way a lot better.”

Pico: “I’m happy with those losses. If I was 8-0 with eight knockouts I don’t think I’d grow. Those losses are truly a blessing. I’m with the best manager in the world Ali so everything fell into place how it was supposed to.”

Pico: “I train a lot, I watch a lot of video, I’m a big student of the sport. I ride my horse, chill with my dog. As soon as I put pressure on myself that’s when things go South. I’m just doing what I love. It’s expensive to have a target on your back, I have to put a lot of work in, but it’s paying off and I’m only 23.”

Pico: “I think Solo is a strong wrestler, he’s taken a lot of his opponents down, but I think a lot of people forget I’m a world champion at wrestling. If he thinks he’s going to take me down or stop my defense, we’ll have to see on Friday. I’m not taking him lightly at all, that’s why I prepared the way that I did. It’s going to be a fun fight.”

Pico: “I have two horses now, Canelo or Corleone, and they’re living the life. Don Corleone like The Godfather. I didn’t name him but I think it’s a good name. My horses always get attention, even outside of this. I spend time with my dogs, horses, and girlfriend. That’s my life. That’s what makes me happy. When I have downtime I’m with them chilling. I’m lucky my girlfriend loves horses too. If not it would be very very hard.”

Pico: “My top three favorite fights are Kamaru Usman, Khabib and Valentina. Those are my top three that I watch a lot. I love Kamaru’s style. People think he’s boring but I thought his (last) performance was beautiful and he retained his belt.”

Pico: “I see myself going out there and competing. I know he (Hatley) is confident, I like that, but I’ve gotta be smart and strategic. I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do to win. I think he’s more star struck. I’m not focused on him, I’m just focused on myself. He’s more worried about me. That’s good that he’s so focused on me. Sometimes you’ve just got to worry about yourself and calm yourself down.”

Pico: “If it was up to me and God willing no injuries I want to fight two more times this year. That would be a dream.”

Claxton: “The best me has yet to come out in the cage. I’m feeling great man. For me nothing (has changed). It actually got a little better. I spent my time with COVID seeing where I was going to lay roots and I decided to do that in Denver. I grew a lot during the quarantine. It was a blessing in disguise for me to be able to slow down and grow as a fighter. It was all positive things.”

Claxton: “At the end of the day he (Wilson) hasn’t had anybody on top of him beating the shit out of him. If I choose to take this fight to the ground there’s nothing Jay-Jay Wilson will be able to do to stop me.”

Claxton: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. (Bellator) has been treating me well, I’ve gotten fair fights, I’ve been getting pushed, and fights that are supposed to help me grow like the Sanchez fight. I plan on sticking around for years to come.”

Claxton: “I need to be a swordsman. There’s a long sword and a short sword. Now I have both. When you have both you can be a little more comfortable. I don’t need to force my wrestling. I can stand and bang for 15 minutes if absolutely necessary. That Sanchez fight taught me a lot. That was an invaluable 10 minutes I spent in the cage with him. I’m grateful for that fight.”

Claxton: “As I get more experience my (fight) IQ is going to be what separates me from all of these guys.”

Claxton: “My new site went live an hour and a half ago, AirClaxton.com, check it out. It’s for kids who grew up like I did without access to the tools they needed. I’m at Elevation now, Gaethje’s pushing me every day, I’ve got rounds and rounds with champions. I’m way more comfortable on my feet. I can go with the best guys in the world but I’m way more than just a wrestler and people are going to start to see it. Time is the only thing that helps.”

Mein: “Mainly opportunity. My contract ran up and my old man was talking with them and then it all came together. Now we’re here so mainly it was just an opportunity that I jumped on.”

Mein: “I feel great, the strongest I’ve ever been, the most flexible I’ve ever been. It’s all coming together and I’m ready to let it out there.”

Mein: “This fight, I was supposed to fight Jason in May and then all this popped off, but as for (rescheduling) about a month maybe.”

Mein: “I get a lot of confidence from winning. I’ve had like 50 fights so winning and losing, you get the highs and the lows but eventually that goes away. It’s about putting in the work and showing up, that deep desire to compete really.”

Mein: “You can’t just win. There’s got to be something impressive for everybody to watch. I feel like I belong there (in the co-main) and I can’t wait to show it.”

Mein: “The background (of Bellator) has got more of a family feel. Even when I was with Strikeforce I didn’t get to know (Coker) well but I loved the way he ran his business. I’ve been treated well everywhere I’ve gone so I’ve got no complaints.”

Mein: “I don’t really foresee anything when I’m talking about fighting, because we’re talking about a non-verbal thing. I could make something up but I wouldn’t even believe it myself.”

Pettis: “All that extra stuff (main eventing) doesn’t really matter to me, but it’s the first fight back for Bellator, so I’m gonna come out there and put on a COVID show.”

Pettis: “In the beginning the gym was shut down for a bit, so it made me open up a basement gym, but then my brother had a fight with Donald Cerrone so we had to get back in there.”

Pettis: “Any time you’re in the cage there’s a 50% change of losing, keeping it standing especially. Bandejas is no scrub, he’s going to try to get the job done, but this is my ninth year as a professional fighter. I’ve seen it all and I’m ready for it all. I’m going to go out there and do what I do best. Try to come home with a pocket full of cash.”

Pettis: “My biggest attribute is my level of dedication. This is my passion, it doesn’t get boring, I enjoy doing it every day. Being a prize fighter in life, the stuff you go through, the good times and the bad times, you just gotta keep chasing what you’re chasing. The prize of all this is becoming better and better.”

Pettis: “My corner’s going to be my brother Anthony Pettis and Duke Roufus of course. I’m still here with who I started with.”

Pettis: “I think eventually it’s just a matter of time before they have a Flyweight division (in Bellator) and get it popping.”

Pettis: “These (1)45 guys are big, I do get up there when I’m not strict with my diet, but no expectations (of going to Featherweight). We’ll see.”


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