In the two years since he suffered his most recent loss to Dave Jansen at Bellator 93, Polish lightweight Marcin Held has gone on a five-fight winning streak and earned his way back into title consideration.
Looking back on the streak, Held feels his developing striking game has been the biggest area of improvement.
“I’m working all the time on my stand-up,” Held told MMAWeekly.com. “I think my stand-up is much better than then. I think everything is better now, but the most important thing is my stand-up. We’ve worked a lot on it and it is much better. I do things by small steps, but everything improves in good time.”
With Jansen fighting for the 115-pound title against Will Brooks on April 10 in Irvine, Calif., Held (20-3) will be looking to earn his shot at the title the same night against fellow top prospect Alexander Sarnavskiy (30-2).
“His best side is striking, standing, so I hope I have better wrestling than he,” Held said of Sarnavskiy. “I think I will have an advantage on the ground with grappling, so that is where I would like to finish the fight.”
Held feels that even though he’s highly touted, both he and Sarnavskiy share the pressure of peoples’ expectations for the fight because they are both such regarded fighters.
“It’s good that I fight with good fighters because it’s always smaller pressure when you fight with them,” said Held. “I’m glad I’m fighting with Sarnavskiy and I hope I will win.”
While facing such a tough competitor as Sarnavskiy could be risky for Held as he awaits a title shot, he feels ultimately it’s a good thing as it will help keep him sharp until his time comes.
“For now, Dave Jansen was first in line for the title fight, so I would wait a long time, so I asked Bellator for another fight because I do not want to wait so long, I want to stay busy,” said Held. “They gave me Sarnavskiy, so I’m much happy about it.
“If I want to be a champion, I can’t be worried to fight with good guys. To be a champion I have to win this fight and every other fight.”