For welterweight veteran Paul “Gentleman” Bradley, picking up a unanimous-decision win over fellow vet Josh Neer at Bellator 129 in October was a big thing.
Not only did the win put him on a positive note to end the year, but it also helped him rebound off of his first loss for the company six months prior to Nathan Coy.
“Against a guy like that, who has been in the sport a long time, it’s a good win,” said Bradley of his win over Neer. “I wish I could have finished him. I was close in the first, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I was coming off a tough loss, to beat a guy like Josh was good to get back on track and headed to where I need to be.”
After spending the last several months focusing on grappling tournaments, Bradley (22-6) returns to Bellator on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to face off against up-and-comer Chris Honeycutt (6-0) in a welterweight title eliminator.
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“With Chris, he likes to bully people and get away with being the bigger guy, but with me he’s not going to be able to do that,” said Bradley. “I’ve got to go out there, take the center of the cage, set a good pace, hit him right away and let him know this isn’t a wrestling match.”
Having over 20 bouts more experience than his opponent, Bradley feels his experience could play a big factor in the fight.
“I think (being a veteran) works to my advantage,” said Bradley. “Chris is only 6-0 and has yet to test himself against anyone the high caliber that I have. He hasn’t fought a Rafael Natal or Mike Pierce, Josh Neer or any of these guys.
“I think this definitely a higher task than what he’s accustomed to.”
Having been plagued by inconsistency the last couple years, Bradley recognizes Friday’s bout as an opportunity for him to take another step forward in his career.
“I want to finish it,” said Bradley. “I want it to be quick and devastating. I want to make an impression.
“I don’t think it’s any sort of luck that we’re the co-main event going on right before the title fight. The winner is going to be the number one contender at the weight. So I want to win this fight big and earn that title shot.”