Bellator 249 has bantamweight Ricky Bandejas in another tough match-up. Bandejas (13-4), who has fought the likes of Sergio Pettis, Juan Archuleta, and James Gallagher, will go up against Leandro Higo this Thursday.
Brazil’s Higo challenged Darrion Caldwell for gold back in 2018. Which makes this fight a chance for Bandejas to break into the upper echelon of the 135lb division.
“We get so close, and every time to make the next step, level up, we seem to be losing,” the New Jersey native said during the Bellator 249 media day. “So I’m hoping Thursday, we get the win, come full circle and redeem all those losses.”
Opponent Higo seemed more focused on James Gallagher than Bandejas himself ahead of Bellator 249. Higo lamented a potential bout with Gallagher falling through, which led to the Bandejas booking. Somewhat puzzling, given Bandejas made his name in Bellator by knocking Gallagher out.
Bandejas isn’t too worried about being overlooked, however. “I don’t know. I don’t put much thought in it,” he told Cageside Press. “If he is, that’s his mistake, and we’ll find out Thursday.”
Wednesday, Higo missed weight for the bout, by a full three pounds. It is, however, expected to proceed.
On his opponent, Bandejas said that “he seems to be more of a veteran, he has a lot of fights. He’s been in there with the best.” As a result, what he’s expecting is “just a tough fight. Don’t give him any opportunities to take. Just go out there and fight hard.”
Overall, Bandejas no doubt knows what a win can do for him in a division he believes is “stacked.” That includes the recent arrival of UFC alum Brett Johns.
“They signed so many prospects and so many guys the last year or two. Guys with zero losses, one loss, and I can’t wait to mix it up with all of them, and see where I stand,” he said. That’s exactly what he’ll be looking for with a win, in fact.
“Anything. One of the top guys,” said Bandejas on what comes after he gets his hand raised.
Watch the full Bellator 249 virtual media day scrum with Ricky Bandejas above.