Heading into his pro debut bout versus JW Kiser at Bellator 239 this past February, heavyweight Davion Franklin had the clear goal in mind to go out and have a standout performance and pick up a win, which is exactly what he did.
Not even half way through the first round, Franklin was able to finish Kiser via ground and pound and put a definitive stamp on the first fight of his MMA career.
“The win over JW Kiser I knew was going to happen,” Franklin told MMAWeekly.com. “I think it was a good first fight for me as well. There are a lot of guys who fight guys who are 1-0 or 3-1, guys who don’t have a lot of fights, so me going out there and stopping a guy with seven fights – that’s good.
“There are definitely things I worked on that I didn’t do, just out of respect, and I didn’t want to risk me being kind of exposed by doing something cool. But for the most part things went to plan. I knew I was going to get a first round finish. I called a first round finish. And I got a first round finish.”
Following the win over Kiser, Franklin was faced with the lockdown imposed due to the novel coronavirus, but was able to avoid it derailing the majority of his training and improve his game.
“I have an apartment inside the gym (at Jackson-Wink MMA), so my training has never stopped,” said Franklin. “Group practice stopped, but I still was getting a lot of one-on-one training with my coaches.
“My fight IQ has gone up a lot since the beginning of this year. I feel like I’m more relaxed. I also a better striker than I was in my first fight. I just think I’m more determined. I’m more hungry since my first fight. I’m trying to change my life.”
At Bellator 246 on Saturday in Uncasville, Conn., Franklin (1-0) will look to pick up his second straight win when he faces Ras Hylton (6-4) in a preliminary heavyweight bout.
“Honestly, this fight isn’t going too differently than my last fight,” Franklin said. “No disrespect to Ras Hilton, but he’s in the way of everything I want, and that’s it, I’ve got to walk through him.
“It doesn’t matter (fighting in front of a crowd or not); I’m so tunnel-visioned I don’t hear anything. I just go. I get the job done. That’s it.”
While another strong performance on September 12 could be a bit boon to Franklin’s remainder of 2020, his focus is on picking up a win that night and nothing beyond that.
“I can’t look over one obstacle because that’s how you mess things up,” said Franklin. “Right now my focus is on Ras Hilton and having a dominant performance like I did last time.”