By: Mozz Manzoor
Tuesday September 13, 2016— You better be in your seat by the time Bellator 161’s main card kicks off this Friday night on Spike TV at 8 pm EST. The card opens with a fight that will steal the show! At 16-6, Derek Campos takes on an 11-2 Djamil Chan. Both fighters love to entertain, and are not afraid to be in a fire fight. This has the hallmark of what makes Bellator such an exciting promotion. They put together exciting, and entertaining matchups, and let the fights sell their brand; Instead of relying on building a sexy narrative.
Campos’ most notable win came at Bellator 149, this February, when he knocked out Melvin Guillard in the second round. He showed a lot of determination, and a willingness to step into the fire. Check out the video by going here. And If you need more convincing, Mike Tyson is guest commentating and it’s worth it. Trust me.
Watch his first round knockout of Estevan Payan, at Bellator 126 in September of 2014 by going here.
Across the cage from him will be another fearless fighter, in Djamil Chan. Chan is a powerful striker whose belief in his skills allows him to take risks and be creative. Click here to watch his most recent outing at Bellator 153 in April of this year. It doesn’t last very long.
And here is a fight from last year that showcases his creativity. Spoiler: he finishes his opponent with an arm triangle, from a flying back mount.
We got a chance to speak with Derek Campos before his fight this Friday night.
How has training been going?
“Training has been perfect. Its been great. Its been a lot of fun actually. I’ve had a lot of time to focus on the areas I want to get better in. I’ve been really focusing on my explosiveness and my conditioning, which I take a lot of pride in.”
Your last fight was your highest profile win, knocking out Melvin Guillard. What were your keys to victory in that crazy fight?
“My key to victory against Melvin Guillard was that I went in there Knowing it was do or die for me. I wasn’t going to have it any other way. I was going to impose my will and beat Guillard.”
You next opponent, Djamil Chan is another dangerous striker; a Dutch striker. Do you see, in him, any tendencies or any openings that you can exploit?
“Absolutely. I’ve seen his mitt work before, and everyone looks good on the mitts. I’ve seen his fights, and he gets carried away. He swings wild and crazy. How do you beat a brawler? You beat him with technique.”
What is your base discipline; what was the first discipline that you entered the world of martial arts in?
“I did a little wrestling in High School. I first started MMA, out in New Mexico, at the little college that I went to, after I quit football. The first thing I did was wrestling combined with Jiu-Jitsu. And that was it. From there I transitioned to the feet.”
You mentioned that there were key areas you were improving on this camp. What improvement have you made since your last fight?
“Since that last fight, I’ve had a chance to work with a great boxing coach out here in Lubbock, TX, named Ruben Gomez. He’s got my hands feeling really good. My timing feels good; my footwork feels good. And I’m going to use that timing and that footwork to set up any shots of takedowns that I need to use in this fight to win.”
“I’ve also implemented a lot more strength and conditioning training. My conditioning feels great, and my strength feels awesome! I feel bigger. I feel stronger. I feel faster. I feel leaner, and I feel meaner. They tell me he’s a big guy. Well bring it on! We’ll see who can impose their will and their technique.”
Catch Derek taking on Djamil Chan this Friday night at 8pm EST, on Spike TV, for Bellator 161: Kongo vs. Johnson. It has all the makings of a fight of the night!
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