Magomed Magomedov advanced in Bellator’s bantamweight grand prix on Friday, but not without facing some adversity early.
The Russian standout (19-2) was neck-and-neck with opponent Enrique Barzola, a former Ultimate Fighter winner, before catching the Peruvian in a guillotine choke in round four.
“The most important thing for me was to get back onto the winning track,” Magomedov told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “It doesn’t matter if it was the grand prix or any other tournament, what kind of fight [was] in front of me. If I keep winning, everything’s going to be ahead for me.”
Magomedov’s last fight, a decision loss against Raufeon Stots, appears to have been particularly troublesome for him.
“The very last thing I like, and maybe I hate in this sport is to lose. Every time when I was thinking I was going to lose, I was thinking either somebody’s going to knock me out completely, or going choke me out,” he stated. “I never thought I was going to lose with a decision, and this was really harmful to me.”
That had him expecting a difficult fight on Saturday, which is exactly what he found until the jump guillotine in the fourth. “I knew that the guy is super tough, and it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be an easy fight,” said Magomedov, adding that “even though I won, I did a lot of mistakes in this fight, and still there are a lot of things that I have to learn.”
He’ll have some time to tweak his game ahead of the grand prix semifinals, where he’ll face former title challenger Patchy Mix.
Watch the full Bellator 282 post-fight press scrum with Magomed Magomedov above. More coverage from the event can be found below.