Bellator has a huge weekend double header coming up later this month that culminates in the highly anticipated grudge match between Brits Paul Daley and Michael ‘Venom’ Page. The two shows come from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut over the 15th-16th February and there are some mouth watering fights spread across the two nights. The Friday night show, Bellator 215, is headlined by heavyweight bangers, Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov, but there is also European interest on the main card as Romanian, Ion Pascu (18-9), takes on Logan Storley (9-0) at welterweight in a classic veteran v prospect match up.
Pascu’s last fight was in October when he faced ex UFC fighter, Lorenz Larkin, in a Bellator World Welterweight Grand Prix reserve bout. After Larkin’s original opponent fell out, Pascu stepped up to challenge the standout on only 3 weeks notice. Pascu came up short as he lost the contest via unaminous decison after the striking and movement of Larkin meant he couldn’t work his usual takedown game until the last few minutes of the fight. He was asked about his mindset going into the fight against a highly ranked opponent at such short notice and why he ultimately didn’t take the victory.
“I accept any challenge with good level fighters because I know that I’m ready to fight anytime. I always stay ready,” Pascu said. “I accepted that match with Larkin because I believed I could be victorious. If I could have taken the fight to the ground sooner as I had planned, I could have beat him. In the end, I think that the fans were entertained.”
The Romanian has trained out of SBG Ireland for many years and Conor McGregor has said on a number of occasions what a tough spar the gritty grappler can be. The following week after Bellator 215, the company land in Dublin, Ireland where a host of Pascu’s training partners are competing. He talked about what it was like training with so many guys that were looking to peak at the same time and discussed that he wasn’t too disappointed at missing out on the Dublin card due to competing in America.
“In this period we have a big number of fighters here at SBG HQ in Dublin and we are all helping each other for the future fights that we all have. It’s been a great fight camp and hopefully we are all going to achieve great results. Here in Dublin I have lots of fans, especially from my Romanian community. However, in the USA I think I have made a good impression and the fans are starting to know me,” Pascu continued.
His opponent on February 15th is the undefeated Logan Storley, who many have discussed as being another extremely promising prospect in Bellator. Storley is a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler and has finished 7 of his 9 professional MMA wins by TKO but Pascu is definitely the toughest opponent on paper that he would have faced so far. Pascu is aware of the hype surrounding the 26 year old but is convinced that the American won’t have it all his own way inside the cage.
“I know he’s undefeated and has a good background from wrestling but I want to ruin Bellator’s plans for him! Then my name will be on the big stage again,” he stated.
Ion Pascu began professional MMA more than 10 years ago in 2008 and has amassed 27 fights over his career. He has competed all over the world in different promotions such as UCMMA, BAMMA, Cage Warriors and ACB where 12 of his fights have gone the full distance so he has spent multiple hours inside the cage. Pascu is approaching his 37th birthday which is typically a time when many fighters start to wind down and look at what their futures might hold in store outside of professional fighting. However, he hasn’t thought about slowing down yet and still has a very clear goal that he wants to achieve.
“Now that I have reached this high level and I’m in one of the biggest promotions in the world with Bellator, definitely my goal is to become the welterweight champion.”
Image courtesy of BAMMA