Looking back on his loss this past May to Will Brooks for the Bellator interim 155-pound championship, former titleholder Michael Chandler agrees the fight was close, but he did enough in the bout’s final round to earn himself a win rather than a split decision loss.
“I think the first four rounds are very clear. I won first two no matter what; he won the second two no matter what; but the fifth round I cannot see how in the last two minutes of the round I drop him with a punch and then rain down six or eight punches to his face, flat on his back, and get close to locking on a submission and end up in full mount and not steal the round,” Chandler told MMAWeekly.com.
“I’m not saying I was the most dominant or it looked pretty, but in a sport where guys come on strong at the end of the round and steal rounds, I don’t see in a million years how I could lose that round.”
Chandler does admit that things were not right heading into the bout with Brooks, and that when the two meet again on Saturday night in San Diego, he will be better prepared.
“The last training camp was tough all around,” said Chandler. “Firstly, we were preparing for (Eddie) Alvarez. Secondly, we were preparing for Alvarez while hurt. Third, the opponent got switched a week before the fight.
“The opportunity to game plan for the same person for eight weeks, being healthy, and having the best training camp of my career, my confidence is through the roof. We just trained accordingly for this fight.”
Chandler feels he knows enough about Brooks by this point to make it a much different fight this time around.
“Will is a tough opponent, but he’s very predictable in what he does, so all I’ve got to do is go out there and compete to win,” said Chandler.
While avenging his loss to Brooks and claiming the Bellator lightweight title is important to Chandler, it’s more important to him to continue to evolve as a person and as a fighter as he moves forward with his career.
“It’s more about increasing my grappling game, increase my submission game, increase my knockout rate, and really see myself as a mixed martial artist, those are the kind of goals I’ve set for myself,” said Chandler.
“I’m the most explosive that I’ve been in years. And achieving those personal goals gives me the confidence to go in there and win this fight. It just so happens that I’ll get a belt around my waist for winning it, and then we’ll move on to the next guy.”