“I didn’t expect to be in the co-main event [of Bellator 254],” Matheus Mattos admitted during the event’s media day on Tuesday.
It’s probably a surprise to some fans as well — until you look at the records that Mattos and opponent Magomed Magomedov boast. Still, the placement came as a shock, after Brazil’s Mattos first saw that he’d be on the main card. And now, he plans to make it the fight of his life. “It’s the perfect co-main event for me.”
It was not the perfect training camp, however. At least not initially.
“I only had one training partner in Brazil because of the COVID,” admitted Mattos. Precautions were so strict that he could only get in an hour and a half of training at a time. That led to the Brazilian moving to the U.S., “because if lockdown happens, I’d already be here. Which would be less risk than in Brazil.”
Training with the notorious Pitbull brothers under Eric Albarracin, Mattos has become part of an ongoing rivalry between between his camp and SBG Ireland. And he’s more than happy to do his part. “Patricio [Pitbull], our general, won the first battle, but the war has just begun,” Mattos said in regards to the Bellator double-champ recently defeating Pedro Carvalho, who trains with the team made infamous by Conor McGregor. “I want a big challenge. Send me whoever you want, I’ll be ready for them.”
Brian Moore and James Gallagher were two names that Mattos mentioned specifically. “Just send me. You know where I am,” he added.
At Bellator 254, however, it’s fellow promotional newcomer Magomed Magomedov in front of him. Both fighters put time in under the Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) banner. Both are former opponents of current UFC bantamweight champ Petr Yan — though only Magomedov holds a win over Yan (the pair split two fights, one win a piece).
“I’ve been thinking about fighting him for a long time, since my first fight in ACB,” Mattos said about his upcoming opponent and fellow ACB alum. “We fought that same night, then he sent me some texts on Instagram. I think he was worried about me since that day.”
Watch the full Bellator 254 virtual media day press scrum with Matheus Mattos above. Bellator 254 goes down this Thursday, December 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on CBS Sports Network following prelims that can be found on Cageside Press.