Bellator 228 Featherweight Grand Prix competitor Henry Corrales enters the tournament as somebody to watch out for.
When Bellator announced the 16 fighters that would battle in their Featherweight Grand Prix, a few fighters immediately began to be viewed as the favorites. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is the organization’s reigning featherweight and lightweight champion. Juan Archuleta is riding an 18-fight winning streak. And AJ McKee is considered by many the best young fighter in the promotion. Henry Corrales, on the other hand, doesn’t receive the same kind of buzz as the others, but might just be the dark horse of the competition.
The 33-year-old fighter will step into the cage on Saturday off the heels of five straight wins including a 67-second knockout of Aaron Pico. “OK” Corrales is set to square off with former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell — who moved up to featherweight for the tournament.
“It’s a tough matchup [against Caldwell],” Corrales told Cageside Press. “He’s an elite wrestler, super athletic. Another tough guy I get to get in there and mix it up with. It is definitely bringing out all my best efforts in camp… I definitely wanted to face one of the top guys. I would have also liked to have had a rematch with [Daniel] Straus, [Patricio Friere] Pitbull, or [Emmanuel] Sanchez, but it’s all good”.
Corrales, who sports a 17-3 professional record, recently changed teams. He stated that his loyalty to striking coach, Eddie Cha helped him make the move from the MMA Lab to Fight Ready MMA. He believes the move will help him sustain his recent success in the sport.
“Biggest change is in my sparring,” Corrales said. “It’s the next level across the board. That place has really lifted my conditioning. I’m just getting in hard smart work.”
With Corrales joining the team, the red-hot Fight Ready MMA team now showcases two fighters that are in the Grand Prix — Patricio Freire has long held his training camps with the illustrious team. Despite having a possible opponent training in the same room as him, Corrales doesn’t see any conflicts with it.
“No conflict at all,” Corrales said. “I can’t speak for anybody else but for me, I’ll fight anybody for money. It’s all good, and I’m broke too.”
If Corrales is able to win all four of his Grand Prix bouts, he will win the 1-million dollar prize, and win the featherweight title — which he has desired for years.
“I love to fight,” Corrales said. “It pumps me up, it moves me. All this other stuff like the belt and one-million-dollar just elevates my feelings. It is just pure ecstasy. It’s so cool.”
While Corrales wouldn’t give a prediction on the outcome of his fight, he did promise fans that he will be ready to put on a show.
“I have trained my a** off,” Corrales said. “I’m going to show up well conditioned and ready to go for it. I’m just going to fight. I’m really going to bring the fight. That’s what I do every single time. That’s not a prediction, that’s a fact.”
Bellator 228 takes place Saturday, September 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.