Los Angeles, CA — One of the feelgood stories last year in Bellator MMA was that of Adel Altamimi. The Iraqi native was once a convoy driver for the U.S. military, and was captured by Al Qaeda terrorists alongside his best friend and cousin. The other two men were murdered, beheaded, in front of him. Altamimi was saved at the last minute by U.S. Marines.
Flash forward years later. Altamimi (8-6) is now a coach at Jay Glazer’s Unbreakable gym on Sunset Strip, working with pupils like Hollywood star Chris Pratt, who cornered him in his first Bellator MMA fight.
Coming into his third fight, Altamimi told Cageside Press that “I’m blessed and happy. Really happy. And this is just the beginning. I’m really looking to stay here, and build legacy here in Bellator.”
Along with other famous names, Altamimi also trains with boxer Ava Knight, who he will share the stage with Saturday. Knight will be making her second appearance in the cage. “This camp I was not with her, but we used to train a lot together,” he said of Knight. “She’s a beast, she’s a beast boxer. MMA she’s just getting started, she’s just getting better and better. I see that in that girl, and she has a big future.”
Entering the new year, the biggest change in Altamimi as a fighter, he explained, is mindset. “Mindset, and being sharp, being better in everything,” he said. “I’m excited for 2020, it’s going to be another big year. 2019 was the biggest year in my life, and I’m looking forward this [year] making it bigger.”
He knows he has a tough task ahead, and a finish against Agazarm won’t be easy. “I’m going there to fight. Especially with him, he brings the heat to fight. He stays in the fight, he’s not easy to finish, I understand that. But I’m going [all-out] there, a decision will be my way, or I’m going to stop him.”
Adel Altamimi vs. AJ Agazarm goes down on the Bellator 238 preliminary card this Saturday, January 25, 2020 at The Forum in Inglewood (Los Angeles), California.