Featherweight Cris Lencioni is set to bring a little sunshine to the Mohegan Sun Arena this Friday.
Lencioni (6-2) is about to engage in something of a grudge match with jiu-jitsu notable AJ Agazarm. The pair have a bit of history, as Lencioni recently claimed to have defeated Agazarm in a “secret” Submission Underground match.
Maybe. Agazarm denies it. And as with anything involving Chael Sonnen, the truth is probably pretty out there. But what Leniconi could tell us was certainly entertaining, whatever the truth may be.
“AJ, Florida kid, mainstream midget, whatever he wants to call himself. He’s saying it didn’t happen. All I’ve got to say to that is, he says he’s six feet tall. You go on Bellator’s website, he is listed as six feet tall. You cannot trust a guy who can’t even tell you his height. If he’s six foot, I’m six foot eight,” Lencioni said ahead of this week’s Bellator 243 card.
When it comes to the purported SUG match, “people told me to do it, because they’re like ‘you need to take A.J. down a few pegs,'” said Lencioni. “If he gets any lower he’s going to have to get a running start to get on the stool between rounds!”
Agazarm’s height was a frequent target for Lencioni’s jests, in fact. “This is going to be the first time in history where a fighter has to make height instead of making weight. He’s got this height requirement. I want to see a six foot A.J. I don’t even want a percentage of his purse if he misses height!”
On a more serious note, perhaps, “Sunshine” added that “I don’t think he understands what he’s gotten himself into. This is a mixed martial arts war, this is not some tickle jiu-jitsu party where you can threaten to sue a guy cause he kicks you off stage.”
Maybe it’s a Napoleon complex when it comes to Agazarm? “Napoleon was a sociopath too, wasn’t he? They work hand in hand,” Lencioni said of that suggestion. “I definitely think that’s a big factor.”
Keeping in mind Lencioni’s association with Sonnen, it appears he’s been doing his homework. Whether or not he manages to get under Agazarm’s skin remains to be seen. But here’s what we can tell you: Lencioni himself is no joke in the jiu-jitsu department. He competed at both SUG 12 and SUG 13, winning both his matches.
Training camp has gone well also, despite the coronavirus pandemic. “I didn’t really have to sneak in any training. I went to a camp. I got multiple tests done. I’ve had about five COVID tests,” Lencioni told us. “All my training partners were good.”
“I know it’s not like one of those things where, ‘I didn’t get it so it doesn’t exist,’ but I’ve had a lot of interactions with an insane amount of people over the last six months, and not once have I been sick,” he added.
So, a dangerous, prepared Lencioni. Who has won his last two bouts under the Bellator MMA banner.
Speaking of, there’s still a grand prix ongoing in Lencioni’s very division, something we got his take on. “Every time I think I have an idea of how a fight’s going to go, it just goes a different way,” he admitted. “Like Darrion Caldwell fighting that [Adam] Borics kid, that was insane.”
Borics was an undefeated fighter going into the Caldwell fight, one who had defeated both Aaron Pico and Pat Curran. Yet Caldwell submitted him within a round.
“A.J. McKee is about to fight [Caldwell], they’re next. Who knows what’s going to happen. There’s so many variables. That’s what makes fighting the best sport on the earth,” Lencioni added. Then there was a the Tywan Claxton-Emmanuel Sanchez match-up, another outcome that surprised him, with veteran Sanchez taking home the win. “I have no predictions, I’m just enjoying it. It’s a fun show.”
Cris Lencioni returns this Friday, August 7, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on Paramount Network and DAZN, with prelims going down on Youtube.