Fighting ex-champ Phil Davis in the co-main event of Bellator 231, Karl Albrektsson has nothing to lose — and lots to gain.
A veteran of RIZIN FF, Karl Albrektsson arrives in Bellator this Friday at Bellator 231, with a dangerous assignment. In his introduction to the promotion, he’s been tasked with taking out former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. ‘Mr. Wonderful’ has been a top 205lb’er since back in his UFC days, so suffice to say, Abrektsson is being thrown to the wolves here.
Not that he minds.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Swedish fighter, he got his start in athletics early. And like many fighters, he admits that “I was a troubled kid at school.” On the sports side of things, Albrektsson was playing ice hockey a lot, but that didn’t last. “I quit ice hockey, then I started hanging around with a bad crowd, doing pranks and stuff. So my mother told the school ‘you have to do something.’ So they sat me down and said ‘what do you want to do?'”
Albrektsson had always wanted to try boxing, and that was his response. “The week after they took me to a local club and then I just got hooked on martial arts.”
After a year, he made the transition to MMA. “I watched a lot of UFC when I was young and then my dad took me to a local show, and then it was mix martial arts that I wanted to do.” The middle child between two brothers, he was going to fight regardless.
“My older brother used to beat me up when we were younger, and I used to beat my little brother up. So we always had that naturally,” he recalled.
Turning pro in 2012, Albrektsson won the first four fights of his MMA career. Then, he joined the upstart RIZIN FF, seen by many as the successor to PRIDE. He made his debut there in their very first show.
Joining RIZIN came by way of a heavyweight mentor. “Josh Barnett has good contacts with people in japan and I wanted to fight in Japan. So I sent them an e-mail and they talked to Josh, and they gave me the opportunity.” Sometimes, Albrektsson pointed out, you just need to have some luck.
The Swede had originally had talks with Bellator all the way back in 2013, but the timing just wasn’t right. It is now. “I’m much more experienced now, I’m much older, much much older,” said Albrektsson, who is all of 26. “I have more fights, more experience, I feel ready, I’ve developed a lot these past three years. So I’m ready just to take the steps and become a professional.”
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) October 25, 2019
Debuting against Phil Davis, however, and in a co-main event no less, is certainly a big step. The fight offer came while Albrektsson was vacationing. “I was on holiday in Greece and I was in the airport on the my way home, and they were like ‘do you wanna fight Phil Davis?’ I was like ‘wait a minute I have to go to the bathroom, I sh*t my pants!'” Joking aside, Albrektsson thought the offer over, and went for it. “You get this opportunity only once,” he pointed out. “[Davis]’s been at the top for so long and he has so much experience so this is a great learning fight for me.”
Later calling it an ‘oh sh*t!’ moment Albrektsson also recognized that he had nothing to lose by taking the fight. He knew he was the underdog. He also knew that Davis might not be all that familiar with him. “So that leads to my advantage. I come to fight. All respect to Phil Davis, but on fight night there will be no respect.”
With nothing to lose, Albrektsson has found plenty of motivation for the fight. And after his adventures in Japan over the last few years, he’s not at all worried about jet lag. Although the dream, ultimately, is to live in the United States once he can live off martial arts full time.
As for the fight with Davis, “I expect it to go my way,” he said. “I need to keep the pressure on and keep him on his back feet. Vadim [Nemkov] showed a lot of his weaknesses [in their fight at Bellator 209], but he is a tough experienced guy. It’s a fight, so it can go either way.”
Don’t miss Karl ‘King’ Albrektsson take on Phil Davis in the co-main event of Bellator 231, this Friday, October 25 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on Paramount Network.