Jornel Lugo says Bellator 265 opponent Keith Lee is not on his level

August 20, 2021

Even though he’s started off his career on a six-fight winning streak, including his most recent victory over Cass Bell at Bellator 256 this past April, bantamweight Jornel Lugo still feels like he hasn’t quite had the kind of fight he’s been looking for.

After getting finishes in his first two fights, Lugo has gone to decision four straight times. More importantly he’s getting wins over tough competition in Bellator, which part of why he’s been going the distance so much lately.

“I went out there and did what I needed to do to get the victory,” Lugo told MMAWeekly.com. “I wish I could have got the stoppage, but as I’m fighting better and better opponents these guys are getting harder and harder to finish.

“Most people come out there and get five or six stoppages in the first round because they’re fighting at a (lower) level, but I came to Bellator pretty early so I’ve been fighting these (harder) guys pretty soon.”

Since turning pro in 2019 after an extensive amateur career, Lugo feels like biggest asset he’s garnished over the last couple years has been his mentality. As he points out, all the skills in the world are great, but if you don’t have the proper mindset they can go to waste.

“I’m just smarter than ever,” said Lugo. “The sooner you get the fight the better, because the more time that goes by it gets harder. I definitely feel like I’m the most high IQ version of myself to date.

“Most of the time the skills and technique don’t matter if you don’t know how to apply it right. So if you’re IQ is not there you won’t know how to apply the technique anyway.”

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Tonight, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Lugo (6-0) puts his undefeated record on the line against Keith Lee (7-4) in a 140lb main card bout at Bellator 265.

“I think (Lee) has good heart; he has good heart and good cardio, but besides that, to be honest, I don’t think he’s on my level anywhere,” Lugo said. “I don’t have much to say about it, I just have to go out there and prove it.

“I respect everyone and prepare for everyone specifically. It’s not like I go out there and ignore everyone’s skills and what they bring to the table. I definitely know he has specific things to bring to the table, so I came prepared and got respect for him.”

Should Lugo come out his bout this Friday healthy, he’d like to have at least one more fight by the end of the year, specifically overseas if he can get it.

“I’d like to get back in there on November 5 (for Bellator Dublin),” said Lugo. “I’d like to know what’s happening in Ireland, because I’d love to get on that card.”