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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bellator Fighting Championship 19 fight card and weigh in video

Ryan Thomas Eager For ‘Bad Blood’ Rematch With Ben Askren

It was impossible for either Ryan Thomas or Ben Askren to foresee what was to come when they touched gloves during the opening round of Bellator’s second welterweight tournament on April 15. Just two minutes and forty brief seconds was all it took for controversy to bear its ugly face and, in its wake, establish the most heated rivalry in the history of the organization.
The controversy erupted midway through the opening round when it appeared to many that Thomas was trapped on the bad end of a nasty Askren guillotine choke. After a few seconds, the cage referee called the contest the contest to a halt, giving Askren his fourth pro victory and four tries and sending Thomas, his corner and his fans into a fury.
“I was going to get out of that submission attempt,” Thomas said later. “It wasn’t going to get any tighter. If he didn’t have me then, then he wasn’t gonna get me. I had it framed really good and it was as tight as it was going to get. If I really wanted to get out of it I would’ve just grabbed that broken finger of his and twisted it (laughs). I may have had a point decducted but I would have gotten out of it (laughs). But it wasn’t even at that point. It wasn’t even that tight. I wasn’t worried about it. I was just resting for a few seconds and kind of relaxing – getting him to stop squeezing so hard – and then I was going to burst out. Once his arms start to burn out a little bit and he’s not so strong, that’s when you start fight out of the hold. If you try it when he’s fresh you can wiggle yourself into this submission. A lot of people criticize me because I wasn’t moving, but a lot of these people haven’t grappled before. If you start wiggling around … you can seal your own fate.”
Thanks in part to the controversial nature of the referee’s stoppage, Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney promised Thomas that he would have an opportunity to re-enter the tournament if an opportunity arose. That happened a week later when scheduled Welterweight Tournament participant “Judo” Jim Wallhead was prevented from making the trip to the U.S. from his native U.K. by the notorious volcanic ash cloud that snarled air traffic in Europe for several weeks.
Thomas was tapped by Rebney to fill Wallhead’s shoes and, despite some scary moments early in the first round, was able to hand Arizona Cobat Sports prodigy Jacob “Tick Tock” McClintock the first defeat of his career in the form of a brutal ground-and-pound-inspired TKO. As a result, Thomas advanced to face Askren in the semifinal round of the tournament.
In the intervening weeks, the two fighters have made their dislike for one another extremely public. Many can agree to disagree, but these dangerously talented welterweights are cut from a distinctively different cloth.
For Thomas, Askren’s antics leading up to this rematch have done nothing more than to inspire him in a time when he needs it more than ever. Three fights spaced out over a month’s time is a tall order for the grittiest of mixed martial artists but Thomas wouldn’t have it any other way in this specific situation.
“There is definitely bad blood in this fight,” Thomas said. “At the gym I train at, my coach went out and made these posters with Askren’s face and different quotes on them, and he put them up all over the gym. He went to Kinko’s and got a bunch of full-size posters with his face on them and he used a lot of the stuff Askren has said before that kind of pissed me off as quotes which has helped to motivate me to train for this one. This is my third fight in a brief amount of time, so a lot of times you can get burned out if you don’t have the proper motivation, but motivation hasn’t been hard for me to find in this fight. Those posters all around the gym with his face on it have definitely helped to keep me amped up for this fight and I would absolutely say that there’s a bit of bad blood in this one.”
Regardless, Thomas knows that the former Olympic wrestler has few surprises in store for him this second time around.
“I was able to feel him out the last time we fought,” Thomas said. “I kind of know how he sets up his shots and I got a good gauge on his strength. I knew he was going to be scrappy and I knew he was going to have good hips. I definitely feel like I’ve been there before and I know what he has to offer and what to watch out for. I think I’m definitely stronger than he is, but he’s actually a lot stronger than he looks. He’s very strong with his leverage in the wrestling department. He’s really strong with his body clinches and when he gets in tight. So, he’s definitely stronger than he looks and he can still take me down.”
Thomas admits freely that he doesn’t believe Askren has the slightest intention of keeping the bout standing for any longer than he has to.
“I don’t think he is going to stand up to me at all,” said Thomas. ”That would be a big mistake on his part. I mean, he might throw some punches to set up his takedowns, but he knows better than to stand up with me. You never know, he might throw some overhands to set up shots, and I’m sure he’ll throw something to set up his shots, but he’s not going to think about slugging it out with me.”
“I don’t want to get taken down, but if he does take me down I’m confident that I’m the better grappler,” said Thomas. ”I had Ben in a real deep triangle in our last fight and I’ll finish that triangle in this fight. Or I could always just submit him with something else. I showed that my ground and pound was ruthless in my last fight so I can finish this fight a variety of different ways. If he takes me down, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll either submit him, or sweep him and ground and pound him out like I did with McClintock.”
Thomas will have his chance this Thursday evening when Askren vs. Thomas II compliments a stacked nine-fight Bellator 19 event from Dallas, Texas, that also includes the second welterweight tournament semifinal between Dan Hornbuckle and Steve Carl as well as a non-tile “Super Fight” between reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto and UFC veteran Diego S.
Hornbuckle, Dan
Dan Hornbuckle
Steve Carl
6' 2" 
 6' 0"
Carl, Steve
Soto, Joe
Joe Soto
Diego Saraiva
5' 8" 
 5' 7"
Saraiva, Diego
Askren, Ben
Ben Askren
Ryan Thomas
5' 10" 
 6' 0"
Thomas, Ryan
Local Feature Fight Card
Aaron Wise vs. Douglas Frey (135 lbs.)
Donyiell Winrow vs. Josh Smith (185 lbs.)
Jared Lopez vs. Johnny Bedford (135 lbs.)
Ty Lee vs. Scott Barrett (265 lbs.)
Brandon McDowell vs. Joe Christopher (170 lbs.)
Daniel Pineda vs. Chas Kelly (145 lbs.)

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