On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with new Bellator featherweight champion Patrício "Pitbull" Freire, "King" Mo Lawal, Jeff Mayweather, and Antonio McKee.
All these interviews were conducted immediately following the Bellator 123 card, which took place Friday, September 5, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on the territory of the sovereign nation of the Mohegan Tribe, and backstage at the event.
In a rematch with Pat Curran, Patrício "Pitbull" Freire was able to capture Curran's featherweight belt with a clear-cut, unanimous five-round decision, with scores of 49-46 twice and 48-47. Curran had won their first fight by split decision, at Bellator 85 on January 13, 2013, in Irvine, California.
We spoke with Patrício "Pitbull", through translator, former top freestyle wrestler, and current trainer Eric Albarracin, about what was different about the rematch. As you will hear, this interview had to be cut a little short because Patrício "Pitbull" was still bleeding on his face from this five-round, mostly standing battle.
In his fight, "King" Mo returned to the win column with a TKO ground-and-pound stoppage at 1:13 of the second round over Dustin Jacoby, who also is a professional kickboxer with Glory.
Discussing his effective jabbing in the first round, "King" Mo noted that shortly before his fight, in the dressing room while watching the telecast of this show, "I saw the great Larry Holmes" in the crowd. The former longtime world heavyweight boxing champion is known for having "the best jab ever," and this reminded Mo, even as he had trained to land the jab in this fight, "I gotta get my jab going."
We also discussed his training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, with legends like Ricardo Liborio and Marcus "Conan" Silveira, why he believes that Ricardo Liborio will defeat Mario Sperry in next year's ADCC masters' superfight, the attempted double wristlock by fellow American Top Team fighter Bobby Lashley in his fight with Josh Burns earlier on this card, and much more.
Another person "King" Mo has trained with is Jeff Mayweather, best known as a boxing trainer but who trains athletes in many combat sports.
We discussed with Jeff Mayweather Mo's latest victory, how he combined wrestling and striking, his two losses to Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton, the "hometown decision" loss to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and the September 13 rematch between his nephew Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.
Antonio McKee not only trains Emanuel Newton but also Bellator heavyweight Cheick Kongo, who defeated Lavar Johnson on this card with a rear naked choke submission at 3:27 of the first round.
The way he trains his fighters, said Antonio McKee, "We don't get hit. We hit."
We discussed with him why he wants to be "the best MMA trainer," injuries in MMA, the need for fighters to have pension and retirement benefits, how MMA is currently the professional level for wrestlers, and more.
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman