Can Linton Vassell’s Turnaround Turn into Bellator Gold?

September 16, 2015

For light-heavyweight Linton Vassell, his win over Sokoudjou at Bellator 134 in February was a chance to show that he learned from the mistakes he made in his previous loss to Emanuel Newton last year and get back on track.

Halfway through the second round, Vassell could see Sokoudjou wearing down and was able to get the TKO victory.

“Basically, I wanted to fix that wrong in the last fight (against Newton) that I lost,” Vassell told MMAWeekly.com. “It was more to compose myself and finish when it was actually there instead of just trying to rush the fight and try to finish it in the first couple minutes.

“I thought I’d finish (Sokoudjou) in the first, but he wasn’t ready then, but in the second I could see him getting tired, so that’s when I went for the kill.”

For Vassell, turning things around came down to acquainting himself with the level of training in the U.S. that he wasn’t getting in his native England.

“Changing camps was the main thing I did,” said Vassell. “I needed bigger bodies and a higher level of bodies, so that’s the main thing I changed.

“Training in the U.K., I fought at a pretty top level, but once I came here I saw that I was swimming with the big boys, so definitely my game has changed training here.”

Vassell (15-4, 1NC) turns his attention now towards “King Mo” Lawal (15-4, 1NC) at Bellator 142 (aka Dynamite 1) on Saturday, Sept. 19 in San Jose, Calif., in the first round of the company’s 205-pound light heavyweight contender tournament.

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“I always knew I was going to fight him at some point in my career, and fighting him in the tournament is great,” said Vassell of Lawal. “To beat him, I just have to pressure him and just finish him. I’m confident that I can finish him.”

Now that he’s righted himself, Vassell is looking forward to the opportunity to go through the tournament and get a shot at the title that has eluded him the last couple years. Firstly, though, he knows he’s got a tough task ahead of him on Sept. 19.

“It’s good to have a little plan,” said Vassell. “I win this tournament and I get a title fight. You can’t beat that. It’s good to know what the plans are and what’s lying ahead.

“I’m really focused on Mo. I’m not worried about anybody else. I’ve got to deal with Mo first, so he’s definitely what I’m thinking about.”

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