Bellator 214: Juan Archuleta Felt Like He’d Lost a Fight When T.J. Dillashaw Was Stopped in Brooklyn

Juan Archuleta picked up his seventeenth straight win at Bellator 214, but after losing the first round of his career against Ricky Bandejas, he feels he still has plenty of work to do.

Los Angeles, CA — Despite a big win at Bellator 214 on Saturday, ‘The Spaniard’ felt a lot of ups and downs. Juan Archuleta improved his win streak to 17 on the night, and it’s impossible to argue with that kind of success. Yet coming off a devastating loss suffered by training partner T.J. Dillashaw, and losing a round to opponent Ricky Bandejas, Archuleta had some mixed emotions at the event in Los Angeles.

On the positive side, his trip to bantamweight was a success. “First drop down to 135, and I wanted to challenge myself,” Archuleta explained post-fight on Saturday, with Cageside Press in attendance. “The weight cut alone was a challenge. Hadn’t been down there in about two and a half years I believe. I wanted to do it in fashion by calling out the number one ranked guy at 135.”

That would be Ricky Bandejas, who Archulta defeated in a unanimous decision Saturday. 29-28 on all three scorecards. “He had a great fight his last fight [against James Gallagher], he made some noise, and it definitely put him in contention to be the number one contender.”

Archuleta’s thinking heading in was that “I wanted to challenge myself. My manager thought it was a good call, my team, everyone. I had to stand out if I was making the drop to 135. I couldn’t just fight a Gallagher or someone.”

Yet despite the success, there was “a lot of adversity coming into this fight as well, that being with my training partner T.J. Dillashaw.” Dillashaw’s loss to Henry Cejudo a week ago in Brooklyn “hit me with emotion last week. I felt like I’d lost a fight. So you know, it was making adjustments for myself as well, and going in there reanalyzing what I’m doing here, what I’m fighting for.”

“I’ve done it before,” he continued. “I’ve been around, some of my training partners have lost big fights, that being with Cub Swanson, and having to fight the week after. So I knew I could pull it off. I knew I could do it.”

That involved getting mentally tough again, and relying on his team, and his family. Opponent Bandejas is “mentally tough,” Archuleta allowed, “but my will power to win is just a lot better than his mental toughness. My will power to go out there and dominate a fight, it shines.”

What did nag at him following Bellator 214, however, is that “I lost my first round in my whole career.” That would be the third round of Saturday’s bout. “It’s devastating for me,” Archuleta admitted. “It feels like I lost the fight because I lost the first round of my career. It’s unfortunate, but I’m going to get better. I’ve got a lot of things to work on.”

Watch the full Bellator 214 post-fight press scrum with Juan Archuleta above!