San Jose, CA — Heavyweight Linton Vassell secured his fourth consecutive win at Bellator 277, kicking off the event’s main card with a bang against Tim Johnson.
For as long as it lasted, Vassell vs. Johnson was a wild one, with the British fighter, a former light heavyweight title challenger in Bellator, coming away with the TKO victory.
“Fireworks,” is how Vassell (22-8, 1NC) described the fight afterwards, speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets. “I wanted to land some kicks, and sort of tire him out. I couldn’t really work that jab as much as I’d like to. But every time he clinched up, he was able to land some shots. I was able to land some knees and some elbows myself, caught him with some shots. But I’m not sure what clipped me or if I stumbled. I wasn’t sure what actually connected, but I wasn’t hurt enough to not know what I was doing.”
Vassell could still hear his corner even when he was rocked, which helped guide him to the finish. “My corner was saving ‘grab the legs, shrimp, get your hips out and get on top, and don’t stop landing shots.'”
That’s exactly what Vassell did, he said, “and the ref stopped it. I could see [Johnson] wanted out. He wasn’t able to get me off him, he wasn’t doing the right moves to get me off. I knew if I kept landing shots, kept busy, the ref would stop it.”
The win, coming as Vassell inches closer to age 40, means a lot. “No many how many rounds you do with your partners and how fit you are, you always think, ‘if I get clipped, can I take it? Will I gas?’ Nights like this show that I can take a shot, same as the Tyrell [Fortune] fight, and other fights I’ve had like that one. It’s obviously a big pat on my back to say I’ve still got it at 38, 39 in June,” he stated. “So I feel like I’m just getting better, especially at heavyweight. I’m coming for that gold.”
A shot at gold, however, may depend on the outcome of Ryan Bader vs. Cheick Kongo next month in Paris, and what the promotion wants to do next. Vassell plans to put a pause on things until that fight plays out.
“The title fight is always number one. We never know what Bellator is going to do, so if I don’t get that, then I’ve got other plans. But that’s what I’m looking for, the world title. So yeah I will wait.”
Watch the full Bellator 277 post-fight press conference with Linton Vassell above. More coverage from the event can be found below.