Alongside Sumiko Inaba, bantamweight Jaylon Bates is one of two fighters making their pro debuts at Bellator 251 on Thursday. Like Inaba, Bates had an impressive amateur career, enough so that Bellator scooped him right up, with a multi-fight contract.
Bates has been preparing for this pro debut for a while, and the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed him in the least. “Honestly it really hasn’t [impacted things]. I’ve been training ever since the pandemic started,” Bates said during the Bellator 251 media day this week. “I was training before the pandemic, ever since my last amateur fight. So I’ve been really prepared for this moment for a while now. Since January honestly.”
His plan against Joe Supine, also making his pro debut, is simple. “Smash, that’s it,” Bates exclaimed. “That’s all I see, that’s all I’m trying to go in there and do.”
Why all the hype over an 0-0 fighter? In the amateur ranks, Bates was a perfect 9-0. With seven finishes among those wins. Looking ahead to Bellator’s growing 135lb division, he foresees a match-up with recent title challenger Patrick “Patchy” Mix.
“Patchy was going back and forth with me a couple of months before his fight with the champion now, [Juan] Archuleta,” Bates revealed. “Eventually when I’m 6-0, we’ll get there. We’ll get there. I want him on my seventh.”
Another big name in the weight class doesn’t interest Bates, however: James Gallagher. “He doesn’t impress me,” Bates said of the SBG Ireland fighter. “Not in the slightest.”
Watch the full Bellator 251 virtual media day press scrum with Jaylon Bates above. The event takes place this Thursday, November 4 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on CBS Sports Network.