mike-richman-1.jpgMike Richman knows he has to go through Point A to get to Point B. But that isn’t going to stop him from having a few daydreams about who might be waiting at Point B when he gets there.

Richman (15-2 MMA, 4-1 BFC) on Thursday meets Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev (20-5 MMA, 4-0 BFC) – Point A – in the featherweight finals of Bellator’s Season 8 tournament at Bellator 95. A win, and he hops in line for a 145-pound title shot.

And Point B? Well, right now, the champion is Pat Curran, who defends the belt against Shahbulat Shamhalaev in Bellator 95's main event right after Richman’s fight. And the winner of that fight is expected to meet Daniel Straus, who was in line ahead of Shamhalaev until an injury pushed him to the shelf.

So there are three scenarios that could await Richman if he beats Khasbulaev – he’s a 2-to-1 underdog. The one that would make him the happiest is a rematch with Shamhalaev, who beat him in November in the Season 7 tournament semifinals. But he’s trying to forget about those three and keep his mind focused on the first obstacle.

“It’s tough to say who’ll come out on top with all of that,” Richman told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “My dream would be for Shahbulat to win so I can fight him for the belt, and get my rematch. In the end, I just want the best guy to be the champ, and I’ll fight him. I’ll fight every one of them. Every one of them is a different fight and a different matchup.

“I’m not thinking about any of them though. I still have ‘Frodo’ in front of me and, if I get that far, I’ll still have a full training camp to prepare for the differences of whoever I’m going to fight.”

Richman believes all three potential opponents – again, should he get past Khasbulaev – present their own difficulties, though.

“Out of Pat Curran, Daniel Straus and Shahbulat, I think the most dangerous is Shahbulat,” he said. “I think the matchup nightmare is Straus, because he’s so aggressive and nonstop with his takedowns. Obviously the most experienced is the champ, the veteran – and that’s Curran. People say Curran’s a good standup guy, but I think he’s so smart and experienced, and he’ll fight wherever he has the best advantage.”

But returning his focus to Khasbulaev, “The Marine” believes that even though his Russian opponent has never been knocked out, he will be the first man to do it.

Khasbulaev comes into the finals with an eight-fight win streak, seven of which have come by stoppage. His four losses have been by submission. But Richman is thinking about stopping him with his hands.

Richman thought he would stop Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra in the semifinals this past month, but had to settle for a split decision.

“I’m going to enforce the game and I’m going to stick and move,” he said. “I’m going to have good lateral movement. You’re going to see a lot of hand-speed and a lot of effective striking with my jab, my cross and my hooks. He seems to have a granite chin, but we’re going to find out. My defensive skills and my counter-wrestling will be the edge – the defining factor in this fight. 

“I predict that I’m going to knock him out (or) TKO, first or second round. If he has an iron jaw like ‘Popo,’ then I’m just going to end up boxing his ears off for all three rounds.”

It was that win over Bezerra, though, that let Richman know he might have taken himself to the next level as a fighter. Even though he didn’t get the stoppage he was hoping for – his previous three Bellator wins all were by knockout – Richman and his team at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy believe that the Bezerra win did him plenty of good.

“I was talking to Pat Barry and Greg Nelson afterward, and it’s just a gut check,” Richman said. “It’s an all-heart type of performance. It’s your heart and your character as a fighter. I was telling them that this was a more satisfying win than going out there and knocking someone out cold in a minute. Going out there and winning in that fashion, it just showed me that I could dig deep and I could earn a win against a high-level talent when I’m put in that situation. So it’s definitely a confidence booster in that aspect.”

But the bigger confidence boost would come with an upset of Khasbulaev.

And Richman remains highly confident that’s going to come on Thursday – and in the process, he’ll be putting the featherweight division on notice.

Frodo is tough as nails,” Richman said. “It appears that he hits hard. … He’s just a tough little hobbit. I think me going out there and winning this fight will be huge for my career. It’ll definitely open more eyes to my abilities – and my ability to go out there and win fights.”

Bellator 95 takes place at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey. The evening’s main card airs on Spike TV at 10 p.m. ET following prelims on Spike.com (8 p.m. ET).

For the latest on Bellator 95, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Bellator 140: Brennan Ward vs Roger Carroll last-minute fight card change

  • 22 days ago
  • 1 views

Just a few days ahead of Bellator 140: "Lima vs. Koreshkov," which takes place this Friday night (July 17, 2015) from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., the Spike TV-televised main card has received a read news >>

'The Leprechaun' in against 'Irish' Brennan Ward at Friday's Bellator 140

  • 22 days ago
  • 24 views

If you’re looking for a late-replacement to face a man who uses “Irish” as a fighting nickname, you can’t do much better than a man who calls himself “The Leprechaun.”Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Sean Grande not worried about being 'the new guy' in Bellator's broadcast booth

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

Sean Grande has an inkling what he'll be up against when he makes his debut as Bellator MMA's play-by-play announcer on Friday night. Grande knows the man he's replacing, Sean Wheelock, was familiar read news >>

Gavin Sterritt released by Bellator after pulling out of fight with Brennan Ward

  • 25 days ago
  • 10 views

Gavin Sterritt has withdrawn from his Bellator 140 bout with Brennan Ward, and it has cost him his contract with the promotion.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Marlon Moraes Upbeat for WSOF Future, Prepping for Aug. 1 Title Defense

  • 25 days ago
  • 0 views

WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes is confident in the promotion's future, focused on Aug. 1 title defense in Las Vegas. read news >>

Sean Grande replaces veteran Bellator brodcaster Sean Wheelock

  • 26 days ago
  • 2 views

Bellator has its first major change in the broadcast booth since the fight promotion introduced Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith in 2010.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald Both Focused (UFC 189 Video)

  • 26 days ago
  • 4 views

Both Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald are focused heading into their UFC 189 rematch. The welterweight title is on the line when they meet this time around. read news >>

Sean Wheelock out as Bellator MMA play-by-play voice

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

The long-time MMA commentary duo of Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith has been broken up. Fans of Bellator MMA (and also followers of M-1 and the short-lived Affliction promotion) are familiar with the w read news >>

Sean Grande in, Sean Wheelock out as Bellator play-by-play announcer

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

Bellator CEO Scott Coker apparently isn't finished making changes to the company's product. The Awful Announcing blog reported Thursday that Bellator has parted ways with longtime play-by-play announ read news >>

Antonio Braga Neto out, Dominique Steele in against Zak Cummings at UFC on FOX 16

  • 26 days ago
  • 3 views

Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Dominique Steele will have an opportunity to compete on the big stage of the UFC after Antonio Braga Neto was forced out of his UFC on FOX 16 bout with Zak Cummings.F read news >>