Following his loss in the second round of last season’s Bellator featherweight tournament in November, Mike “The Marine” Richman was eager to return to action this year. He did so with an impressive win over Mitch Jackson in February’s first round of this season’s 145-pound tournament.
“It felt really good to get back in the Bellator cage on Spike TV and do what I do best and go in there and finish (Jackson),” said Richman. “I felt like I was still confident as ever, poised and confident, and to go out there and finish it like that felt great.
“I think I performed my game plan exactly how I wanted it to go. I wanted myself to be patient and didn’t want to get too amped up. I wanted a decisive, outclassing type of victory, and I was really happy with how it all played out.”
Now that he’s back on the winning track, Richman is looking to keep things going Thursday night at Bellator 92 in Temecula, Calif., as he takes on Alexandre Bezerra in the second round of the tournament live on Spike TV.
“I think the defining factor of the winner and loser of this fight will be based on his wrestling versus my counter-wrestling and his ability to take me down and submit me or my ability to stuff his shots and keep it standing and put him away,” said Richman.
“That’s how it’s going to happen: I’m going to get in there, get across the cage, walk him down, cut him off, stay in his face the whole time and throw fast, accurate, heavy punches and look to put him away.”
While Richman is focused on facing Bezerra Thursday night, he told MMAWeekly.com that it’s only natural to think ahead to future encounters.
“I catch myself thinking ahead to who I’m going to fight next and that I hope Shahbulat (Shamhalaev) wins (against Pat Curran in April) so when I rematch against him it’s for the title,” Richman said.
“You do think ahead and you try to pull yourself back and keep yourself grounded and who you have to get through first. It is key to stay focused on the opponent you do have right now.”
Having said that, Richman’s objective for 2013 is simple: to accomplish what he could not last year.
“My goals were to win the last tournament, so my goal was always to win this tournament and become the champion,” he said. “Absolutely my goal is to be Bellator champ before 2013 is over and I’m in a great position to make that happen.”