Mandel Nallo was the breakout star of Bellator 207 on Friday, putting on a highlight reel performance against Carrington Banks.
Uncasville, CT — Few people were talking about Mandel Nallo heading into Bellator 207 on Friday night in Connecticut. That changed in an instant following his main card finish of Carrington Banks to open the Paramount Network broadcast. Nallo, who came close to finishing the fight in the first round with a D’Arce choke, made no mistake in the second. There, a crushing knee turned the lights out on Banks.
ESPN’s SportsCenter was calling it a knockout of the year candidate shortly after. Nallo was an overnight success, at least to those who weren’t aware that he’d been fighting since 2012. Six years, but only six fights. Something that is likely to change now, as Bellator will be keen to get him back in the cage soon.
Nallo, meanwhile, told reporters backstage that he enjoys being something of an enigma. “I kind of like being the guy that everybody is like ‘oh, you know he’s just a striker,’ or, my first three fights or whatever I had a lot of subs, and they’re like ‘ahh just a sub guy,'” he said. “It’s kind of nice being a mystery.”
The Canadian, fighting out of the famed TriStar gym in Montreal, said of the victory that “it’s a nice win over a very, very good guy. As far as just a notch on my belt, it’s very, very good.” That’s putting it lightly. But while those in the know have been expecting big things from Mandel Nallo, he’s working hard to stay humble. “It’s easy to not get a big head first of all because of all the talent in TriStar Gym,” he said. “You get beat up every day, when you get beat up every day it’s hard to believe you’re the man. I don’t think the man gets subbed and beat up by his coach that’s ten years his senior.”
Beyond that, it’s all about being a student of the game. “I’ve been training for a long time, and I know that what it takes to be good is to understand that there’s too much for you to know everything,” Nallo explained. “Georges’ [St. Pierre] thing, student’s mind. No matter if you’re a black belt or whatever, you’ve got to keep training. Because there’s more stuff that you don’t know than you know, that’s for sure.”
Another thing that’s for sure: fans will want to see Mandel Nallo back in the cage soon.