Johnny Eblen was able to put his full arsenal on display in his fight against John Salter at Bellator 276 — and while giving the “crafty” vet props, Eblen feels it was a dominant performance.
Just not his best performance, he told Cageside Press and other media outlets following the fight.
What bothered him in particular? “That I got caught in a submission a little bit in the first round. I wasn’t landing as much ground n’ pound as I wanted to. Some of my striking on my feet wasn’t as clean as I wanted it to be,” Eblen (11-0) explained, adding “my defense wasn’t as clean as I wanted to be, but it is what it is. I put on a pretty good performance, it was one sided, so it’s all good.”
During his in-cage interview following the unanimous decision win over Salter, Eblen was fired up, cutting a brief promo on middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi. The Dutch veteran had previously claimed to not know who Eblen was, and that seemed to have lit the fuse.
It’s not something that particularly bothers him, Eblen later clarified. In part because, in his opinion, Mousasi is simply fighting for money at this point.
“Nah man, I’m just kind of poking fun at the dude. I’m sure he doesn’t really pay attention too much— that dude’s just fighting for a paycheck now. He’s been fighting for years. He’s probably not studying the Bellator rankings as much. But he has a target on his back, and I’m here to take him out.”
Eblen has also made an old lion vs. young lion comparison between himself and the champ, and when it comes to what might give him an edge should they meet, it might just be Mousasi overlooking him.
“I think he overlooks all aspects of my game, he doesn’t even know who the f*ck I am,” Eblen exclaimed, “so that just says it all.”
Given John Salter had held the #1 ranking in Bellator’s middleweight division, with Eblen likely to jump into his spot when the rankings are updated later this week, there’s a good chance we could be seeing Mousasi vs. Eblen sooner rather than later.
Watch the full Bellator 276 post-fight press conference with Johnny Eblen above.