Bellator 114 is this Friday night, which features the semifinals of their Season 10 featherweight tournament. Coming off of the biggest win of his career, which was a hard-fought decision over Diego Nunes at Bellator 110 last month, Matt Bessette is ready for the next leg of the journey. Bessette, who received massive cheers from the home-state crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena in his last fight, didn’t let the pressure of fighting in the tournament, or the roar of the crowd throw him off his game plan against Nunes.
“I’ve fought at Mohegan Sun before.” Bessette said this week in an interview on The MMA Word podcast. “Usually I have a ton of people there. When I fought Joe Proctor, who’s actually friend of mine now, that place was super loud. It made me nervous back then, but I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that people get nuts when I fight, so I’m used to it. I was able to focus, listen to my corner during the fight, and fight my fight.”
“The support I get is unreal. I don’t understand it sometimes. I get the kind of support a superstar would have, but I’m not a superstar yet.”
After the final round was in the books, Bessette was confident he had done enough to take home the decision.
“After the second round, I felt like I was actually in the fight. Before that it was a little bit of a slow start for me. I felt like I had an awesome second round, I hurt him a couple times. I came out strong in the third and countered pretty much every single one of his combinations except for maybe one body kick. I felt like that round was definitely mine too.”
Fighting in the tournament doesn’t give a fighter much time to enjoy their victory, as their next matchup is right around the corner.
“I felt awesome. Usually you get to celebrate for a week or two before you get back into training, and get to feel good about the fight. That lasted about two hours before I realized I have to fight again in four weeks.”
The fight itself is in Utah, 4300 feet above sea level. Bessette wasted no time after his last fight to start preparing at elevation.
“I talked to Joe Lauzon and he said the best thing you can do is to go to a high elevation, that’s the only thing you can really do to prepare yourself. He was one of the first people I talked to about that. He set me up with Trevor Whitman, and literally two days later I bought a ticket and was on a flight.”
“I’m definitely accustomed to [the altitude], and I’m ready to fight my fight and constantly push the pace.”
In Weichel, who made quick work of his first-round opponent Scott Cleve, submitting him via rear-naked choke, Bessette recognizes that he’s got a tough fight ahead of him, and that his opponent has more submission wins than ‘The Mangler’ has total fights. Bessette said that it is getting easier to find footage and study his opponents as he faces more and more well-known and experienced fighters.
“His footwork is rather basic, more of a boxing style. He kind of just walks forward. He creates good angles, and uses his hands really well. He’s confident, keeps his chin tucked, and looks like he hits pretty hard. He uses [his striking] really well to set up his takedown. I’m prepared for everything.”
“He’s an excellent fighter, an excellent finisher, and I’m happy to go in there and show the world once again that the underdog is not an underdog for long.”