Canada’s Mandel Nallo returns to action Friday at Bellator 255, looking to shake off the label of having bizarre outcomes in his fights.
“What sticks out in people’s minds is your most recent fight. Because people who watch fights don’t see training,” Nallo (7-1, 1NC) said during this week’s Bellator 255 virtual media day. “Of course, I would like to remedy that taste in people’s mouth of me having weird fights.”
The TriStar Gym representative saw his last fight end due to an accidental low blow landed on Said Awad. One fight prior, he suffered his first loss — via leg kicks. Up to that point, he’d been an undefeated prospect.
Nallo has been marketed as “the next big thing” in MMA for a while now. But “you don’t have to” believe that, he observed. “There’s prospects that play out, and there’s prospects that don’t play out. I guess I’m one of those guys that’s still a question mark. In my eyes, I believe in myself, and that’s all I really care about.”
On Friday, Nallo has been paired up with Brazilian prospect and LFA veteran Ricardo Seixas. Like himself, Seixas is skilled both on the feet and on the ground. Nallo doesn’t have a preference for how, or more specifically where, things play out.
“I think if you’re a fighter, I think you expect it to happen everywhere,” he said. “Obviously there’s a loose game plan, but it doesn’t really matter where stuff [happens]. You just look out for what the other guy’s good at, and fight your fight.”
Any rising star in Canada brings about the obvious comparison to Georges St. Pierre, and the further a fighter goes, the more attention it brings. But Nallo, at least, is still flying under the radar for now. “I think I’m much too small to feel any kind of national athlete pressure right now. That’s a question for Rory [MacDonald]. For me, it’s all the same. I’m just a guy.”
On the artistic front — Nallo, known as “Rat Garbage” on Instagram, has been known for his rather unique creations — the fighter said he’s still been making art, even if he hasn’t been posting it. But an NFT (non-fungible token) offering could be in the future.
Watch the full Bellator 255 virtual media day scrum with Mandel Nallo above. Bellator 255 takes place Friday, April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card airs live on Showtime, and will be available in its entirety right here on Cageside Press.