Even though he had won three of his previous four fights, current Bellator welterweight Karo “The Heat” Parisyan felt his fight this past April against Ron Keslar was a must-win situation.
Parisyan responded to the pressure by not only defeating Keslar, but by recording the first knockout in his 15-year MMA career.
“I felt it was do or die for me,” Parisyan told MMAWeekly.com. “If I would have lost that fight, it was going to be pretty detrimental to my career, so I really need to win that fight. It added a lot of pressure on me, but thankfully I perform well under pressure.
“A lot of people didn’t think I was going to win because they didn’t know which Karo was going to show up, but not only was I able to win, but I knocked him out.”
Parisyan feels he’s over the issues that have plagued his career and often derailed him, and feels his win over Keslar shows that.
“I’m only 31 years old, and if I show up only 40-percent in shape, I’m going to beat your ass. I pretty much gave a statement to the fighters in the Bellator welterweight division and the fans that I’m back and focused,” said Parisyan.
“I want people to see me and think I’m taking things a bit more serious, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s taking his career a bit more serious. That’s what I’m doing. Win or lose, I’m still going to have a good performance.”
Parisyan (23-10, 1NC) looks to continue prove himself when he takes on fellow former UFC fighter Phil Baroni (15-17) at Bellator 122 this Friday in Temecula, Calif.
SEE ALSO: Bellator 122 Fight Card
“I’m fighting an old buddy, an old training partner of mine,” said Parisyan. “Phil’s not going to bring anything to the table I haven’t seen before. I have the potential to put a clinic on Phil, but he’s got the potential to put my lights out, so I’ve got to be careful, but do what I have to do.
“I’ve got to go in the cage and perform and beat him in a very violent and aggressive fashion. It will surprise him and everybody watching, I feel.”
A win could line Parisyan up for an opportunity to fight for the major MMA championship that’s always eluded him. But first and foremost, Friday’s Bellator is on his mind and he’ll think about the future afterwards.
“First I want to win for myself, my family and the fans,” said Parisyan. “I don’t fight just for myself; I fight for a lot of people.
“I want to work my way up one fight at a time and fight for a title. I don’t want to look past any opponents – Phil is a tough guy, a tough opponent – so I’m going to go out there and try to take him out and then think about my next opponent.”