Bellator returns to action this Friday, April 2 for the first time in 2021 with Bellator 255. Headlined by one of the best featherweight fighters not only in Bellator, but on the planet, Patricio Pitbull takes on Emmanuel Sanchez. The co-main event of the evening involves Neiman Gracie who comes in at number three in the newly released rankings, versus number six Jason Jackson. Gracie is excited to be back in the cage for the first time since finishing Jon Fitch in September.
“I wish I fought more in 2020,” Gracie began, speaking to Cageside Press recently. “I wish I fought already this year, so I’m very happy to return and have this finally be happening,” Gracie continued. “I’ll fight at least three times this year, maybe even four.”
As previously stated, Gracie comes into the rankings of the welterweight division as number three in the division. A much deserved spot, and maybe even lower than some expected as Gracie has proven and defeated top contenders. Regardless, Gracie is happy to see the rankings implemented in Bellator.
“If it is done right, then I am glad Bellator is doing this,” Gracie told us. “It’ll be great to see who is fighting for a title, who should fight who next. To be a top five in the Bellator welterweight division is amazing, it is the toughest division in Bellator.”
Gracie’s opponent, Jason Jackson, just defeated Benson Henderson in his last appearance. Jackson went 2-0 in 2020 under Bellator, last competing at Bellator 253 in November. Jackson is #5 in the rankings for the division, Gracie knows this could very well be a title eliminator.
“This is a title elimination fight,” Gracie stated. “Whoever wins this should fight for the title next. This is a tough opponent [Jackson], I’m super excited for it. The winner needs a title shot after this.”
The infamous Gracie family name has followed Neiman Gracie throughout his career. Gracie has spent nearly his whole career with Bellator, and spoke about how much it would mean to be a champion for this promotion, and on the Gracie name and the representation that come with it.
“Competing since being a kid, it doesn’t bother me,” Gracie explained. “It actually gives me strength, more will to perform at the highest level. To show what Gracie Jiu Jitsu is all about. I want to show the power of the Gracie family,” Gracie continued. “It brings confidence to train with the legends of my family.”
As for a prediction in this one, Gracie laughed. “I don’t think it is a mystery, I will be looking for the submission.”
Bellator 255 goes down Friday, April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.