By: Fernanda Prates and Steven Marrocco | September 28, 2018 6:30 pm
SAN JOSE, Calif. – As the cameras started rolling for Leandro Higo’s pre-fight babble with MMAjunkie, his angry drillmaster and interpreter, Eric Albarracin, murmured some words to the fighter.
That, it turns out, was Albarracin accomplishing a altered blazon of apprenticeship than what he does on the mats. He was reminding Higo of key concepts, in case questions like the ones he’d been absolutely accepting in the lead-up to Saturday’s Bellator 206 came up again.
Those questions, Albarracin explained, revolved about the abstraction of adverse a cool anticipation with a able angry background.
“I’ve been translating, and I aloof said, ‘Hey, echo what you’ve been saying, who you alternation with. You alternation with the ‘Pitbull’ brothers, you alternation with (UFC champ) Henry Cejudo. There’s annihilation that he hasn’t apparent before,” Albarracin said.
One can see why those questions would accumulate accepting asked. After all, the anecdotal of the DAZN-streamed agile bender with Aaron Pico (3-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) is appealing clear: In one corner, you accept a world-class wrestler and much-hyped 22-year-old prospect; in the other, a battle-tested fighter in Higo (18-4 MMA, 1-2 BMMA).
How does answering those questions affect Higo, though?
“This doesn’t affect me in appealing abundant anything,” Higo said in his built-in Portuguese. “My accomplished career was based on angry adjoin boxy guys. Aloof this name, ‘prospect,’ it doesn’t alarm me at all.”
Higo is right, abnormally back it comes to his abbreviate Bellator road. His promotional debut, in fact, already was a appellation bender – or it would accept been, had Higo not absent the 135-pound absolute for the Bellator 177 action adjoin then-champ Eduardo Dantas.
After accident a attenuated breach accommodation to Dantas that night, Higo rebounded adjoin adolescent adversary Joe Taimanglo. His aing action already was an official appellation fight, adjoin accepted advocate Darrion Caldwell. After accident that one, Higo allotment at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., for his aboriginal agile bender with the promotion.
Saturday’s bout, the Brazilian says, will serve a analysis to see how he feels in the high division. At 29, he’s putting anticipation into his abiding health, which the added pounds can advice bottle in the future. But, for now, he still has business to tend to at 135.
“I won’t blow until I’m bantamweight champion,” Higo said.
Saturday’s bender carries some career acceptation for both fighters. For Pico, it’s a adventitious to validate his fast acceleration in the face of a resilient, accomplished opponent. For Higo, it’s a adventitious to advantage his name over addition who brings in not alone an agitative aftereffect of three first-round knockouts, but a lot of eyeballs.
For all the differences in affairs and backgrounds that led the two until this point, they allotment one thing: a austere bulk of aplomb branch into it. And Higo hopes that will accomplish for an atomic affair Saturday.
“When I was 21, my activity was never accessible in Brazil,” Higo said of Pico, who aloof angry 22 this week. “At 21, I was acceptable a dad. (Pico) had acceptable abutment to be an amateur back he was a child. With me, it was absolutely different. I had to action a lot to be able to accomplish it this far.
“I achievement he brings all his confidence. Because, forth with my confidence, it will – we’re activity to clash.”
To apprehend added from Higo and Albarracin, analysis out the video above.
And for added on Bellator 206, analysis out the MMA Rumors area of the site.
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