Grant Neal (5-0) returns to the Bellator cage for the fifth time this weekend against fellow undefeated light heavyweight prospect Tyree Fortune.
Neal went 3-0 in 2020, starting his year off with a third-round TKO over Claude Wilcox at Bellator 239. He would return in August with a unanimous decision over Hamza Salim and then finish his year with a submission over Maurice Jackson on the last Bellator card of the year.
His opponent Fortune has not fought since 2019, but he doesn’t know if the long time away from the cage will affect the fight.
“People respond differently to different situations, but I’m expecting the best opponent. If it were me who hadn’t fought in that time frame, I would feel very, very dangerous because that would allow me to work on things in my game,” Neal said in an exclusive interview with Cageside Press. “But that is just me. You know? So depending on how he prepared, I could see a really good Tyree, I could see a mediocre Tyree, or I could see a bad one, but ultimately it’s not about him. It’s about how I prepared for this fight, and I believe that my team and everybody around me has prepared me for his fight. I think we are well prepared for this fight.”
Neal and Fortune were originally supposed to fight in December, but Fortune withdrew from the fight.
“I was kind of bummed when the fight canceled, but then I quickly got over it because Bellator did such a good job at finding a game replacement. I really appreciated that,” Neal said.
Now that they are matched back up again, Neal doesn’t plan to lose his 0, as his opponent also has a record of 5-0.
“One of 0’s has to go, haha. It’s not going to be mine,” Neal said. “I have a goal to achieve, so I have to take out whatever is in front of me. I like everything about this matchup, and I plan on winning. That’s my prediction. I’m going to win and win in a dominant fashion.”
A Light Heavyweight Grand Prix is going on in Bellator at the moment. Although Neal is ranked No. 7 in the light heavyweight rankings, he didn’t get an invite. He wasn’t too disappointed.
“When Yoel Romero fell out of the Grand Prix, there were some conversations with my management and Bellator, so at least I know I’m on their radar,” Neal said. “Bellator does a great job of building up the division, and right now, Bellator has the best light heavyweights in the world. I’m just excited to be in the company, and I’m excited to show the world that I am the best light heavyweight in Bellator. I may not be in the tournament this year, but all these guys will have to fight me. I’m ready.”
Grant Neal faces Tyree Fortune this Friday at Bellator 259.