Coming off a seven-fight winning streak, Bellator lightweight Dave Jansen had visions of winning a title in mind when he took on Will Brooks just over a year ago.
Unfortunately for Jansen, Brooks got the better of him over the course of five rounds and he ended up losing via unanimous decision.
“I came out strong, maybe a bit too strong, and it was going my way until it wasn’t,” Jansen told MMAWeekly.com. “Will is a tremendous fighter and athlete, but it was my fight to win, and I didn’t. It was a really good learning experience. I’ve changed a lot of stuff up and have improved.”
One change that Jansen made was going from Sports Lab to Gracie Barra Portland, where he feels he’s been able to reconnect with what helped make him a successful fighter in the past.
“It’s been good for me,” said Jansen. “I’ve gotten back to my grappling roots. My jiu-jitsu has gotten a lot better. I feel good and confident about the move.”
“I have to fight a smart fight and be wary of Marcin’s submissions,” Jansen said. “He’s good at leg locks, but he’s really good at triangle chokes and arm bars too. He’s show remarkable improvement in his stand-up game as well.
“For me to win, I have to do more damage and negate all of his skills.”
Having previously defeated Held, Jansen is confident he can do so again, though he admits that both fighters have grown and changed enough to make their upcoming bout a different match.
“It’s an entirely new fight,” Jansen said. “I think Marcin has been working on his game as well. I think he’s going to be more willing to stand-up, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.
“I’ve made some improvements with my stand-up in that time. I think my wrestling, my kickboxing and my grit are going to be deciding factors in the fight.”
Having to prepare for Held four times over as many years has Jansen looking forward to facing new challenges and putting this series of bouts behind him in 2016.
“I think for (Held) this is kind of a revenge match,” said Jansen. “He kind of feels like he was the better fighter (the first time) and somehow I came out on top. It will be nice to end this chapter and get on with my life.
“I do respect Marcin. I’m a big fan of his. He’s a likable person. But this is business. I feel like I’m on the top of my game and more prepared than ever.”