Cal ‘Pacino’ Ellenor has had a rollercoaster start to his life in the Bellator bantamweight division.
‘The Sunderland strangler’ has a professional record of 8-2 and made his Bellator debut at Bellator Newcastle in February 2019.
His debut fight for the promotion went according to plan, as he submitted his opponent Nathan Greyson via Rear Naked Choke in the very first round.
After this bout, Ellenor was matched up with the highly rated Irish prospect, James Gallagher, at Bellator Dublin in September 2019.
Unfortunately for both fighters, their first match-up between was postponed after a bizarre turn of events, when a physician read Ellenor’s brain scan incorrectly and was unable to clear him medically fit to fight.
As it turned out, this information was false and there were no anomalies on Ellenor’s scan and Bellator MMA rebooked the bout as the headline for the next Bellator Dublin event, coming in February 2020.
The two fighters were able to put this delay aside and first met face-to-face at the Bellator London media day in November 2019. In their first meeting they showed a lot of respect for each other and were seen multiple times sharing friendly exchanges at the event.
However, two weeks prior to their February bout, disaster struck again when Gallagher was forced to withdraw due to a back injury sustained in his training for the match-up.
This time around, things were not taken as lightly by either fighter and after Ellenor spoke openly about his disappointment regarding Gallagher’s withdrawal, a heated exchange began to occur across Twitter between the two bantamweights.
A few days prior to Bellator Dublin, we received the news that Gallagher vs Ellenor would finally come as the main event in the 2020 Bellator London card on May the 16th.
After two unsuccessful matchups, it seemed that third time would be the charm and headlining a card in the English capital city was something that both fighters were yet to do.
When it seemed that nothing else could stop this from becoming a similar situation to that of the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson saga, we then entered lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The UFC, Bellator MMA and Cage Warriors announced that all their events will be postponed until further notice and all bouts would be cancelled and rebooked for future events.
Once more, this match-up between two of Bellator’s finest submission specialists, was not meant to be.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown has been in place, Ellenor has been able to spend much more valuable time with his children, but is itching to get back into the octagon and will take a fight with whoever Bellator offer him.
This has come after Gallagher featured on Eurobash last month, claiming that he would be interested in a bout with Bellator’s recent signature, the UFC veteran Sergio Pettis.
Despite still wanting the match-up with ‘The Strabanimal’, Ellenor is open to other fights as he feels his stock has already risen from the recent promotions for the Dublin and London bouts respectively.
If the Gallagher fight cannot be made, Cal ‘Pacino’ told us he is also interested in matchups with Sergio Pettis, Patchy Mix and even Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore.
An interesting concept that could come from either the Gallagher or Moore match-up, is that of a North of England vs Ireland card to feature as part of the Bellator European series.
In the North of England, Bellator have fighters such as Ellenor, both George and Harry Hardwick and the undefeated welterweight prospect, Justin Burlinson, available to fight.
In Ireland, Bellator have a great array of fighters that include Gallagher, Moore, Dylan Logan and Kiefer Crosbie, all of which make great opponents for those mentioned above.
Another concept that Ellenor is interested in is the notion of a men’s Bellator bantamweight World Grand Prix series to follow their current men’s featherweight World Grand Prix tournament.
Ellenor feels his division offers the most exciting style of fights for fans and when you look at the bantamweight names that Bellator have to offer, it is hard to argue with him.
With the likes of Darrion Caldwell, Josh Hill and Sergio Pettis at their disposal, it would certainly make for a fun and challenging tournament for the end 2020 and start of 2021.
Ellenor told us that he feels that fighters such as Juan Archeluta would also make the move down to bantamweight to compete.
Check out what Ellenor had to say in the interview above and have a look at our mock-up version of a proposed 16- man Bellator bantamweight World Grand Prix tournament below.